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Surgeon in Blue Audiobook
Surgeon in Blue
Written by: 
Scott McGaugh
Narrated by: 
Kyle Munley
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Surgeon in Blue Audiobook

Surgeon in Blue: Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War Doctor Who Pioneered Battlefield Care

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Audible Editor Reviews

Listeners will feel like curling up in a comfortable armchair for narrator Kyle Munley's even-toned performance of Civil War surgeon Jonathan Letterman's biography. Letterman revolutionized combat medicine, making battlefield survival possible by creating a more effective field hospital system, improving hygiene standards, and imposing medical professionalism on a chaotic battlefield. Munley depicts battlefield scenes with a gravity that underscores their horrific conditions, and his consistent, measured cadence makes this blend of Letterman's personal history and the examination of Civil War-era medical practices accessible to all.

Publisher's Summary

The first full-length biography of the Civil War surgeon who, over the course of the war’s bloodiest battles - from Antietam to Gettysburg - redefined military medicine.

Jonathan Letterman was an outpost medical officer serving in Indian country in the years before the Civil War, responsible for the care of just hundreds of men. But when he was appointed the chief medical officer for the Army of the Potomac, he revolutionized combat medicine over the course of four major battles - Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg - that produced unprecedented numbers of casualties. He made battlefield survival possible by creating the first organized ambulance corps and a more effective field hospital system. He imposed medical professionalism on a chaotic battlefield. Where before 20 percent of the men were unfit to fight because of disease, squalid conditions, and poor nutrition, he improved health and combat readiness by pioneering hygiene and diet standards. Based on original research, and with stirring accounts of battle and the struggle to invent and supply adequate care during impossible conditions, this new biography recounts Letterman’s life from his small-town Pennsylvania beginnings to his trailblazing wartime years and his subsequent life as a wildcatter and the medical examiner of San Francisco. At last, here is the missing portrait of a key figure of Civil War history and military medicine. His principles of battlefield care continue to be taught to military commanders and first responders.

©2013 Jeffrey Moore (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    C. Scott Kippen 06-16-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great content, ok Narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Interesting listen. Our modern battle-field medicine practices come down for Jonathan Ledermen.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narration is, sadly, the lower point of this book. It is serviceable, but it is very monotone and lifeless.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Movius 06-10-16
    Mike Movius 06-10-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    63
    10
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    "PERFORMANCE WOES DETRACT FROM STORYLINE"
    What did you like best about Surgeon in Blue? What did you like least?

    The story about Jonathan Letterman and his life was compelling. The way that he was able to influence McClellan and others was never explained.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Surgeon in Blue?

    Certainly, Letterman's accomplishments in expanding the purview of the medical corps. But, I had an uneasiness that some of the changes were not his innovations, but those of European military physicians.


    What didn’t you like about Kyle Munley’s performance?

    Munley continuously made factual errors that are so blatant that even the casual Civil War enthusiast could pick them out. For example, it's not John Longstreet, but James. It's not A. G. Hill, its A. P. Hill. There weren't 33,000 casualties at Antietam, there were closer to 23,000. And, then there was the mispronunciations. His performance was only memorable in the frequency of these problems.


    Was Surgeon in Blue worth the listening time?

    Probably. Although much of it was extraneous material that only tangentially affected the thesis of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The author, in attempting to put into context the challenges Letterman faced, wrote about several battles, how they unfolded, etc. This seemed like a way to fill the pages, rather than be a vivid description. Moreover, they were brought with oversimplifications and omitted key facts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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