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 Featured Title
War-Torn Exchanges
The Lives and Letters of Nursing Sisters Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes
Andrea McKenzie  

$95.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/15/2016
ISBN: 9780774832533    

$32.95 Paperback
Release Date: 11/1/2016
ISBN: 9780774832540    

268 Pages


About the Book

In June 1915, Laura Holland and Mildred Forbes sailed from Montreal to serve as nursing sisters in the Great War. In a letter written on the voyage, Mildred promised Laura's mother, "I will always take the best care I can of Lollie ... I would rather be torpedoed than ... separated."

This letter, the first of dozens that Laura and Mildred wrote to friends and relatives over the following four years, hints at the nurses' remarkable friendship. An inseparable duo, they cared for each other through sickness and health, air raids and bombings, unrelenting work and adventurous leaves.

Unfolding like an epistolary novel, these carefully curated and contextualized letters transport readers from the dire conditions of hospitals in Greece to the efficiency of casualty clearing stations in France, from camel rides in Egypt to the royal palaces of Britain. Together, Laura and Mildred's words offer unprecedented insight into the daily lives of Canada's First World War nurses, from the privations of Gallipoli to the heavy casualties of Passchendaele and beyond.

Mildred and Laura's war-torn exchanges challenge the popular myth of nurses as wartime angels. Instead, their letters are filled with the nurses' fears and frustrations, humour and keen observations, revealing how they relied on friendship, wry wit, and professional ethics to carry on in the face of mismanagement, discrimination, illness, deprivation, and trauma.

About the Author(s)

Andrea McKenzie is an associate professor at York University in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Friendship and War

1 Journeying to War

2 Lemnos: "Poor Souls" and "Pathetic Sights"

3 Alexandria and Cairo: Mosques and Minarets

4 Salonika: In the Shadow of Olympus

5 England: Officers and Honours

6 France: Trauma and Taking Charge

Conclusion and Epilogue

Appendix: Laura Hollandís Travel Diary, 1907

Bibliography; Notes; Index


"A vivid, fascinating account of two experienced nurses who served on various fronts during the First World War. Their letters illuminate not only the strength of their personalities and the enduring importance of their close friendship but also the war, its legacies, and its impact on women's lives."
-- Alison Fell, co-editor of First World War Nursing: New Perspectives

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

History > Canada
History > Military

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of War-Torn Exchanges 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

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