by Andrew Davidson
New York: Marble Arch / Simon & Schuster, 2014. Pp. 320.
Illus., maps, append. $37.00. ISBN: 1476777551
At War with Scalpel and Camera
British surgeon Fred Davidson served with the 1st Cameronians at the Front in France in 1914-1915. While treating the wounded and winning the Military Cross, he collected photographs, taken, against orders, by himself or other officers.
A collection of some 250 of these images survives, and these form the basis of this book, put together by Dr. Davidson’s grandson, a British journalist and author. The younger Davidson supplements the images from his grandfather’s wartime collection with others, including some of family members, and in a sort-f appendix modern views of several of the 1914-1915 sites. There is also a very readable text that blends a narrative account of the events with excerpts from wartime letters and diaries, by the good doctor and others, as well as clips from newspaper articles, histories, and other publications.
While neither “drums and trumpets” nor “modern military history,” A Doctor in the Great War is a valuable work for anyone seeking an understanding of the nature of the Great War and those who fought it.
Note: A Doctor in the Great War is also available as an e-book ISBN 978-1-4767-7756-6