Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs To Supply Artificial Limbs

. October 2012. 160p. 978-0-80933-130-7. 24.95.
During the bloodiest war the United States has ever fought, Union and Confederate soldiers suffered an estimated 60,000 amputations. Approximately 75 percent of them survived surgery to return to their civilian lives. Pharmacist and amateur historian of Civil War medicine Hasegawa (coeditor, with James M. Schmidt, Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine) has done extensive research on the efforts of both North and South to provide artificial limbs for their disabled veterans. The combination of humanitarian sympathies and economic concerns that these wounded soldiers become self-supporting citizens ensured wide support for such efforts. By 1862, the Union government appropriated funds to provide prostheses, while in the chaos of the Confederacy, the provision of artificial limbs was far less organized. These wartime programs and the subsequent lifelong government or charitable assistance to amputees from both armies established a precedent for the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers that continues today though the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
VERDICT Though the work is highly specialized, the prodigious research presented here will be valued by readers interested in Civil War medicine.
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