by Nicholas Coni
London / New York: 2014. Pp. xxvi, 266.
Illus., maps, tables, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index. $48.95 paper. ISBN: 0415860180
Spain and the Development of Modern Military Medicine
, author of a number of works on medicine and medical problems, examines
the “largely overlooked
medical, surgical, and nursing implications” of the Spanish Civil War. Opening with a survey of prewar medicine in Spain,
observes that while
medical services were
quite up to date
with those of other Western countries
profession was not prepared for the demands of a full scale war.
Shifting easily between the two sides, Coni
follows with chapters addressing the response of the medical profession to the war and the problem of recruiting and training nurses
complicated issue for the Republic since the
nursing profession was largely confined to
nuns. There are chapters on caring for wounds,
including the introduction of debridement,
the first widespread use of blood transfusions, coping with famine and disease, the medical organization of both sides,
the medical service of the International Brigades and foreign medical support to the Nationalists. One chapter uses case studies of some campaigns to illustrate the increasing sophistication of the medical services, and is followed by one with profiles of various important individuals. The book ends with a look at the postwar impact of the wartime experience on Spain. Coni argues that despite obstacles, including political interference, each side evolved effective medical services.
fails to discuss the broader influence of the Spanish experience on military medical in other countries, it was in fact not "overlooked" but had considerable influence on medical services
during the Second World War. Medicine and Warfare, Spain, 1936-1939, a volume in the “Routledge/Canada Blanch Studies on Contemporary Spain”,
is an important read for anyone interested in the history of military medicine, and will also prove of value for students of the Spanish Civil War.