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War Wounds

War Wounds
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Ashley Ekins and Elizabeth Stewart

War Wounds

Medicine and the trauma of conflict.

* As seen in Australian Defence Magazine, Contact Air, Land & Sea, Top Ender, SA Defence Business, Australian Nursing Journal, Medical Journal of Australia, Canberra Times, Canberra Weekly, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.  

The history of warfare and the history of medicine are closely intertwined. War has been an accelerator of advances in medical treatment and surgery. As modern weaponry became more destructive, medicine developed techniques and procedures to deal with the volume and nature of battlefield casualties. Preventative medicine has also increased the effectiveness of fighting forces through improvements in soldiers’ health and disease resistance.

This book is a collection of chapters by historians, medical practitioners and researchers, former and serving military medical officers, surgeons, nurses and veterans, who explore the impact of war, wounds and trauma through the historical record, reported narratives and personal experiences.

The book includes major sections on World War One (including chapters on shell shock and plastic surgery), World War Two (including a chapter on the Nazi death camps), the Vietnam War (including chapters on Agent Orange and sexually transmitted diseases), together with chapters on the Korean War and the current conflict in Afghanistan. In addition, the book includes several personal stories in which veterans describe their experiences of injury and recovery.

War Wounds is a truly unique book, which offers considerable insights into an aspect of war that is often mentioned but seldom examined as it is here. Medical professionals, military personnel and the general public will all find it a remarkably revealing read.  

Joint Volume Editors:

Elizabeth Stewart is a historian in the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial. She worked for several years as a research officer on the Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-75 and from 2004-8 was content leader for the Vietnam section of the Memorial’s Conflicts 1945 to today galleries. She is the co-author of two books (with Gary McKay): Viet Nam Shots: A photographic account of Australians at War (2001), and With Healing Hands: the untold story of the Australian civilian surgical teams in Vietnam (2009).

Ashley Ekins is Head of the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. A graduate of the University of Adelaide, he specialises in the history of the First World War and the Vietnam War. He is the co-author (with Ian McNeill) of two volumes of the The Official History of Australian Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948-1975 dealing with Australian army operations in the Vietnam War: On the Offensive (2003), and Fighting to the Finish (forthcoming 2011). He has published widely on the role of Australian soldiers in the First World War and contributed chapters to several books, including the volume he compiled and edited, 1918 Year of Victory: The end of the Great War and the shaping of history (Exisle 2010).


Specifications:  | 234 x 153 mm | 9¼ x 6 in | Cased with jacket | 240 pages | Approx. 30 photographs


The Royal United Services Institute of Victoria Library, February 2016

"War Wounds is a work that will interest both medical and military personnel and the general public as well. It is a very easy read, with some fascinating data included among appropriate photographs."

The Royal United Services Institute of Victoria Library reviews War WoundsThe Royal United Services Institute of Victoria Library reviews War Wounds

ABC Radio National - Saturday Extra. Mark Bannerman interviews Ashley Ekins, co-editor of War Wounds

The Canberra Times - Cruel Wounds of War

The Canberra Times - Vietnam Veterans at war with historians

The Sydney Morning Herald - Medical legacy forged by war

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