In Battlefield Angels historian Scott McGaugh pays homage to the thousands of medics, hospital corpsmen, and battlefield nurses, doctors, surgeons who have provided succor and healing to the more than 40 million warriors who have served in America’s armed forces since the nation’s founding.
McGaugh tells the story of Jonathan Letterman, a Union surgeon during the Civil War who is considered the father of American combat medicine. Letterman designed the first battlefield evacuation system after an unprepared medical corps at Bull Run left thousands of soldiers to die in the place where they were wounded. We also learn about Wheeler Lipes, a young navy corpsman and submariner with minimal medical training who on September 11, 1942, conducted the first-ever appendectomy at sea. And, we hear the story of Pfc. Monica Brown, the young army medic who was awarded the Silver Star for rescuing fellow soldiers from a disabled Humvee during an ambush in the Paktika province of Eastern Afghanistan in 2007. Brown is only the second woman in sixty years to receive the prestigious award. Through these stories and many others, McGaugh traces the captivating evolution of battlefield care, from the Revolutionary War to today's battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Battlefield Angels captures "in-the-trenches moments" during which medics and corpsmen fought to save the lives of their comrades. Along the way, readers will learn the fascinating history of battlefield medicine and how it has benefited both military and civilian medical practice throughout American history. McGaugh also looks ahead to the future, where telemedicine and robotic surgery promise to transform the battlefield once again. In the end, Battlefield Angels both chronicles and pays homage to the men and women in arms who fight every day to save the lives of their fellow soldiers, sailors, and marines.
"While one facet of war focuses on killing, McGaugh describes the other war against infections, disease, shock, blood loss, combat, operational stress reaction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He describes the selfless individuals who risk their own lives to save others." -San Francisco Book Review (November 2011)
“Battlefield Angels propels the reader into an alien world of horrific wounds, unimaginable living conditions, and profound responsibility borne by young men and women only a few years past high school. It is a world where corpsmen and medics have lived for hundreds of years.”
–RADM Riley Mixson, USN (ret.), Former Director of Air Warfare for Chief of Naval Operations, USN
“While Battlefield Angels captures the progress of military medicine, it is the story of individual medics and corpsmen saving lives at acute risk that will haunt and inspire the reader long after he or she has passed this fascinating read on to a friend.”
–Richard Setlowe, screenwriter, journalist, military author of The Black Sea and The Brink
“When most people think of war they think of the men who fight, not the countless thousands who have treated their wounds and saved their lives. Those of us who have been wounded on the battlefield cherish their sacrifice and bravery. We know how remarkable they are.”
–Jeff Roy, Ph.D., National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart
“Since this nation’s birth, American fighting men and women have faced countless wars and conflicts. At their side have been medics and corpsmen, usually unarmed but for their medical bags. Battlefield Angels is the perfect description of these heroes and McGaugh has done a masterful job of telling the story of the bravest of the brave.”
–Jan K. Herman, Historian if the Navy Medical Department, USN
“Military medicine not only represents medical science advancements and heroism under fire, it also reflects the increasing role of women in uniform. From nursing in the Civil War to the all-volunteer force in the post-Vietnam era to Army medic Monica Brown’s Silver Star in Afghanistan, Battlefield Angels is a riveting account of both the people and progress of saving lives under fire.”
–RADM Veronica (Ronne) Froman, USN (ret.)
"The writing is riveting. The profiles of those in the medical corps are compelling. The photo sections are equally moving." -North County Times
"Scott McGaugh has written a fantastic book on the history of the American military medical system ... You can’t help coming away stunned at the achievements of the frontline military corpsmen and medical teams, and this book is a much deserved homage to their service." -David A. Galli, Civil War News