Most of my time with the television is spent with PBS when I’m not immersing myself in the latest cable-produced drama. I’m a fan of history, and particularly intrigued when the lesser-known major players in that history are shown. Moving away from my fictional reads, I have a book today that looks at the real nurses and nursing that is the backbone of the PBS drama Mercy Street. Please read on for
Heroines of Mercy Street
Don’t think that you will find the clearly navigable bones of the television show here – some of the characters do share name and backstories, but the reality of these actual lives, painstakingly and thoroughly researched and presented by Pamela D. Toler, PhD, is gripping and intriguing.
Remember that during the American Civil War, nursing (even medicine in the modern sense) was in its infancy. The first woman of renown to challenge that belief was Florence Nightengale, and her work in Crimea and London that first brought the profession forward, are depicted through letters, journals and diaries as well as books brings a whole new light on the first notable moments of nurses in America.
Stories from Mary Phinney von Olnhausen, Dorothea Dix, as well as Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, the Woolsey sisters and others, as well as accounts from stewards, surgeons, officers, politicians and others all help to show both the social and physical trials that these women faced, even as they are keeping pace with advancements (and the often brutal methods) of ‘current’ medical treatment.
Research for this story is effectively presented: this isn’t a dry read, in fact, the narration by Suzanne Toren helps to provide a sense of life to these women, known and unknown, that puts the letters into a frame that is accessible to all readers, not just those interested in history or the facts. I’ve actually given copies of this title to friends who are nurses, and can wholeheartedly suggest this for readers with or without an interest in history or the US Civil War. If you are a fan of the PBS Series, or are interested in learning more about the women who made history – this is the title for you.
Stars: Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story: 5
Title: Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War
Author: Pamela D. Toler
Genre: Biography / Memoir, Historical Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting
Narrator: Suzanne Toren
Published by: Hachette Audio, Little Brown
Published on: 16 February, 2016
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 24 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
A look at the lives of the real nurses depicted in the PBS show Mercy StreetHEROINES OF MERCY STREET tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, mansion turned war-time hospital and setting for the new PBS drama Mercy Street.
Among the Union soldiers, doctors, wounded men from both sides, freed slaves, politicians, speculators, and spies who passed through the hospital in the crossroads of the Civil War, were nurses who gave their time freely and willingly to save lives and aid the wounded. These women saw casualties on a scale Americans had never seen before, and medicine was at a turning point.
HEROINES OF MERCY STREET follows the lives of women like Dorothea Dix, Mary Phinney, Anne Reading, and more before, during, and after their epic struggle in Alexandria and reveals their personal contributions to this astounding period in the advancement of medicine.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.