Book Review: Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott

"A book no woman can read without tears"

"For six weeks (1862-1863) Louisa May Alcott served as a Civil War nurse, in the Union Hospital at Georgetown, D.C.

I think Louisa Alcott's book "Hospital Sketches" is very inspiring. The life of a nurse during the Civil War wasn't easy, really, I can't even imagine. Surrounded by dying, sick and wounded soldiers... but after reading her book I have to say that the woman who volunteered as nurses were real heroes... heroines? hehe.

Union Hospital (building on the left)

Period Reviews:
"Graphically drawn * * * Exceedingly well written and the graver portions of thrilling interest. There is a quiet vein of humor, too, running all through them, so that the reader is alternately moved to laughter and tears."
-Waterbury American
"To say that I thank you for writing them from the bottom of my heart, would but poorly express the sentiments which dictate to me this minute; and to say that I feel humbled by the lesson which they teach me, is to pay tribute to them which I fancy will be rather unexpected * * These papers have revealed to me much that is elevated and pure, and refined in the soldier's character which I never suspected. It is humiliating to me to think that I have been so long am .... them with menial or moral obtuseness that I never discovered it for myself, and I thank you for showing me .... how different eyes and ears you have striven among the .... from the organs which I used on the very same cases and .... the same time."
-From a Hospital Surgeon
"It would be tedious to you to hear how much pleasures an old man like me has taken by your charming pictures of hospital service. In "The Commonwealth;" and how refreshing he found the personal revelations there incidentally made of so much that is dearest and most worshipful in woman; so I will not dwell on those particulars, but say all I have to say in this summary form, to wit; that am so delighted with your beautiful papers, and the evidence they afford of your exquisite humanity, that I have the greatest desire to enroll myself among your friends * * * With the liveliest respect and affection, yours, Henry James"
-Henry James, American literary gazette and publishers' circular
"A very pleasant record of a very good piece of work, unhappily cut short. The little book is lively, and one ought not to complain of liveliness; and yet we should like it better if it were a little less lively. The writer in an amusing writer, and one wishes to be amused; nevertheless, the entertain were more if it were less, if the story were sometimes told in a perfectly simple way. occasionally we have been reminded of an old teacher of French, who would be forever saying to his pupils "Il faut rire, mes amis!" and could no more dispense with his unceasing joke than with his pinch of snuff. But men and women must write, after all, as they are moved, and after their own fashion, and we have found this particular writing at once entertaining and profitable."
-James Redpath, The monthly religious magazine

You can read this book online at openlibrary.org

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