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Abbey Kaplan always wanted to be a doctor. Little did she know, her first posting after medical school would be to a Civil War field hospital…working in a medical tent close to combat such that rifle and artillery rounds were always a threat.
“In late August of 1862, and despite the Second Battle of Bull Run ending some hours ago, the acrid scent of burned gunpowder still hung in the muggy, hot air. Young Dr. Abbey Kaplan sat on a bench and leaned her exhausted body against a tree. After thirty-six hours of surgery, aching muscles demanded sleep. She knew it wouldn’t come easily as her mind still raced at the breakneck pace of a Civil War surgeon. Like two boxers having savaged each other, the two armies retired to their corners to assess their own and their opponent’s damage. A nurse examined an ambulance wagon’s contents and yelled for Dr. Kaplan…the same nurse she’d overheard speculating as to what type of woman could perform the removal of limb after limb with “an utter lack of emotion…”
Acclaimed author, Richard Alan, takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster. He explores the mindset of a female doctor during the cruelest of wars, at a time when the practice of Medicine was more of an art than a science. And a women’s place was at home…not practicing medicine.