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I Saw Them Die

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About the author:
A volunteer nurse in World War I France tells about her true-life experiences and often reveals more about herself and the incongruities of war than she realizes.

I Saw Them Die

Diary and Recollections of Shirley Millard

Authored by Shirley Millard
Preface by Elizabeth Townsend Gard

This true contemporary account of an American nurse's horrific - and sometimes bizarre - experiences at a French battlefield hospital during World War I has poignant layers which even the oft-naïve author did not see. Too soon, she was standing hours on end treating friend and enemy alike, facing harrowing hyperreality with aplomb.

Shirley Millard is throughout a willing reporter of her fascinating perspective on war, youth, loss, and love -- and always slapdash surgery and gallows camaraderie, inside a MASH unit before there was M*A*S*H. And before antibiotics, it is painfully clear.

But she is also an unwitting reporter of so much more. The modern reader sees truths and wrongs that Shirley fails to experience herself, some at the time and too many upon rested reflection. The book compels attention not only on the level on which she wrote it, which would be enough to bring crashing home this forgotten war, but also on levels hidden to her.

This collection of diary entries and later flashbacks compares to better known personal accounts of World War I, such as that by the much more self-aware Erich Remarque (though readers here may find themselves drawn into the lack of awareness as much as the account itself). Yet this book seems to have been lost in time and the crush of later events.

Includes penetrating new Foreword by law professor Elizabeth Townsend Gard, who studied the genre as part of her Ph.D. research in History at UCLA. The original book, and its incongruities and twists revealed by Townsend Gard, will stick with the reader. Previously only available as a rare book, now returned to its place in poignant history.

Targeted at trade and general audiences, may also be appropriate for YA (some upsetting scenes and carnage of war but no other inappropriate scenes; teaches subtext and foreshadowing, and allows discussion of women in war, nationalism, class, race, and relationships). Also sold in ebook formats.

Publication Date:
1610270231 / 9781610270236
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / Military / World War I

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