From Buffalo Rising:
This book is a good suggestion for reading on the occasion starting this year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and a fitting end to March as Women's History Month. It is the story of one woman who starts out as a midwife and yearns to become a surgeon. Since this was an unlikely occupation for a woman in the mid-1800's, she was rejected time and again from medical school and eventually answers the call of reformer Dorothea Dix to become a nurse just as the Civil War is beginning. She was at first even turned down for that because of the strict social regulations of the time for women and men.
Mary sets off on her own to the front and apprentices herself to a doctor. The story of the Civil War from a medical standpoint unfolds from there. It is not light reading, but her personal story woven throughout exposes the reader to the full scale of how inadequately prepared both the North and South were for real battle, real deaths, and real lifelong injuries.