search : contact us : about us : site guide : home

  University of British Columbia Press
 Search Our Catalogue
  search by subject

 UBC Press
About UBC Press
Conferences & Events
Contact Us
Media Centre
Publishing With UBC Press
Publishers Represented
Staff Directory

Forthcoming Titles
How To Order
Recent Reviews
Review Copies

 Join Our Mailing List
Sign Up
Privacy Statement
Frequent Questions
Privacy Statement
Site Guide
Website Feedback

 Featured Title
An Officer and a Lady
Canadian Military Nursing and the Second World War
Cynthia Toman  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 12/21/2007
ISBN: 9780774814478    

$36.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2008
ISBN: 9780774814485    

272 Pages

Studies in Canadian Military History series


About the Book

During the Second World War, more than 4,000 civilian nurses enlisted as Nursing Sisters, a specially created all-female officers’ rank of the Canadian Armed Forces. They served in all three armed force branches and all the major theatres of war, yet nursing as a form of war work has long been under-explored. An Officer and a Lady fills that gap. Cynthia Toman analyzes how gender, war, and medical technology intersected to create a legitimate role for women in the masculine environment of the military and explores the incongruous expectations placed on military nurses as “officers and ladies.”

Their stories will interest diverse audiences: students and professionals in the healthcare fields; nursing and medical historians; and scholars and readers of women’s history, military history, and Canadian history.

Published in association with the Canadian War Museum.

About the Author(s)

Cynthia Toman is an assistant professor of nursing and is Associate Director of the Associated Medical Services Nursing History Research Unit at the University of Ottawa.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Tables


1 “Ready, Aye Ready”: Enlisting Nurses

2 Incorporating Nurses into the Military

3 Shaping Nursing Sisters as “Officers” and “Ladies”

4 Legitimating Military Nursing Work

5 “The Strain of Peace”: Community and Social Memory


Appendix: Biographical Profiles of Interviewed Nursing Sisters
Selected Bibliography


“An unromanticized, nuanced, and complex book. Based on revealing first-hand accounts from the nurses themselves, as well as published memoirs, and military documents, Toman’s analysis of the ways in which nursing culture came into conflict with military culture over medical treatment and technology is brilliant. An Officer and a Lady is both pioneering scholarship and a well-told story.”
– Christina Bates, co-editor of On All Frontiers: Four Centuries of Nursing in Canada

“An Officer and a Lady is beautifully written and a real pleasure to read. It asks all the important questions about identity and representation, women's experiences, the meanings of gender, the role of nursing, and the impact of militarization and war. After reading each chapter, I couldn’t wait to continue to the next.”
– Susan L. Smith, author of Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, and Health Politics, 1880-1950

Toman's work is a timely addition to the social history of the military. … By incorporating nursing sisters into the narrative of military history, Toman has "balanced out traditional accounts of war as political and military strategies" (p. 205).
- Kristin Burnett, Lakehead University, H-Canada, July 2008

With Toman’s study, we have the first critical historical analysis of Second World War nursing sisters. Toman’s purpose is to ‘shift the analysis away from stereotypical portrayals as angels and heroines’, to examine the nursing sisters in the ‘masculine military domain’ of Canadian wartime hospitals overseas. […] Toman fully achieves her goal, providing an interplay between ‘gender, war, and medical technology’, drawing on a wide range of oral and official evidence, including twenty-five personal interviews with veteran nursing sisters, and another thirty gleaned from archival collections across Canada, in addition to other personal and published sources. […] The photographs distributed throughout give faces to the voices, and illustrate both the medical and human drama of the war.
- Linda J. Quiney, University of British Columbia, International History Review, Vol.XXXI, No.1, March 2009

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

History > Canada
History > Military
Women's Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of An Officer and a Lady from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

© 2001 UBC Press
2029 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z2
t. 604.822.5959 | f. 604.822.6083 | e.
Vancouver Web Design by Internet-Exposure