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The Other ANZACS Nurses at War, 1914-1918

By: Peter Rees (570.14/35935)
Publisher: Allen & Unwin ISBN: 9781741755497

By the end of the Great War, forty-five Australian and New Zealand nurses had died on overseas service and over two hundred had been decorated. These were women who left for war on an adventure, but were soon confronted with remarkable challenges for which their civilian lives could never have prepared them.

They were there for the horrors of Gallipoli and they were there for the savagery of the Western Front. Within twelve hours of the slaughter at Anzac Cove they had over 500 horrifically injured patients to tend to on one crammed hospital ship, and scores of deaths on each of the harrowing days that followed. Every night was a nightmare. Their strength and humanity were remarkable.

Using diaries and letters, Peter Rees takes us into the hospital camps and the wards and the tent surgeries on the edge of some of the most horrific battlefronts of human history. But he also allows the friendships and loves of these courageous and compassionate women to enrich their experiences, and ours.

This is a very human story from a different era, where women had not long begun their quest for equality and women the vote. They were on the frontline of social change as well as war, and the hurdles they had to overcome and the price they paid, personally and professionally, make them a unique group in Anzac history.

Profoundly moving, The Other Anzacs is a story of extraordinary compassion and courage shown by a group of Australian and New Zealand women whose contribution to the Anzac legend has barely been recognised in our history. Pewter Rees has changed out understanding of that history forever.

September 2008


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