THE FEVERED FIGHT: A MEDICAL HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Dr Martin Howard
The American Revolutionary War, fought 250 years ago between Britain’s North American colonies and the British colonial government, was a conflict of global significance. It had a profound influence on the history of the United States, Britain and the wider world, and an enormous body of literature has been devoted to the subject. Yet there is no comprehensive account of the military medicine practised during the war, which is why this thorough, graphic and highly readable study by Martin Howard is so timely and valuable. His account describes the medical story of the War between Lexington and Yorktown in absorbing detail. He covers the key military events, the medicine and surgery of the period, and the medical departments of the opposing armies. The narrative is enriched by the vivid eyewitness testimonies of soldiers, doctors, and civilians. Previously neglected topics such as biological warfare and the impact of disease on black soldiers and the Native American population are explored. The human toll of epidemic disease had a significant impact on the outcome of the war and vital lessons were learnt. The war was associated with improvements in military medicine and the professionalization of American medicine. Martin Howard’s ambitious work will be stimulating reading for all students of the American Revolutionary War, particularly those with a special interest in the history of medicine.
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