The first full-length biography of the Civil War surgeon who, over the course of the war’s bloodiest battles - from Antietam to Gettysburg - redefined military medicine.
Jonathan Letterman was an outpost medical officer serving in Indian country in the years before the Civil War, responsible for the care of just hundreds of men. But when he was appointed the chief medical officer for the Army of the Potomac, he revolutionized combat medicine over the course of four major battles - Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg - that produced unprecedented numbers of casualties. He made battlefield survival possible by creating the first organized ambulance corps and a more effective field hospital system. He imposed medical professionalism on a chaotic battlefield. Where before 20 percent of the men were unfit to fight because of disease, squalid conditions, and poor nutrition, he improved health and combat readiness by pioneering hygiene and diet standards. Based on original research, and with stirring accounts of battle and the struggle to invent and supply adequate care during impossible conditions, this new biography recounts Letterman’s life from his small-town Pennsylvania beginnings to his trailblazing wartime years and his subsequent life as a wildcatter and the medical examiner of San Francisco. At last, here is the missing portrait of a key figure of Civil War history and military medicine. His principles of battlefield care continue to be taught to military commanders and first responders.
Ruined by poor narration
Fascinating though the subject matter may be, any laudable qualities I might otherwise have recognized in this work are rendered imperceptible by the worst narration I have ever attempted to endure. The narrator has the cadence of a robot, and verbal punctuation that is so poor it makes one wonder if even he understands where one sentence ends and another begins. The combination of this narrator's monotonous modulation with his over-annunciation of every word results in inappropriate word accentuation, making it very difficult to infer what the author meant to emphasize. The narration is so grating that I doubt I will be able to finish listening to this audiobook.