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30 Pages

Introduction

The following work is not the result of weeks or months spent in dark bunkers and damp cellars, leafing through old documents page by mildewed page in the hope of coming upon a remark that will throw an entirely new light on the subject and supersede all previous knowledge in an instant. In that sense it is not an original work. So what exactly is it? This book is an attempt to bring together in a single readable volume all the diffuse knowledge available in primary and secondary literature on the subject of war, and more specifically the military casualties that result from it and the medical treatment they may or may not receive. At the root of the book lies the question of what can happen to a soldier between the moment he steps onto a train or ship bound for the theatre of battle and the point at which he is evacuated wounded or, whether dead or alive, buried in the ground. I have attempted to provide an answer in five chapters – Battle, Body, Mind, Aid and Death – drawing on experiences from the Western Front of a vast conflict that the French, British and Belgians still today refer to as the Great War.