Format Hardcover
Publication Date 08/09/22
ISBN 9781639361854
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 364

Request a review copy or press kit

Healing a Divided Nation

How the American Civil War Revolutionized Western Medicine

Carole Adrienne

An insightful investigation into how the American Civil War transformed medicine, from sanitation to the foundations of the Red Cross.

At the start of the Civil War, the medical field in America was rudimentary, unsanitary, and woefully underprepared to address what would become the bloodiest conflict on U.S. soil. However, in this historic moment of pivotal social and political change, medicine was also fast evolving to meet the needs of the time. Unprecedented strides were made in the science of medicine, and as women and African Americans were admitted into the field for the first time.

The Civil War marked a revolution in healthcare as a whole, laying the foundations for the system we know today. In Healing a Divided Nation, Carole Adrienne will track this remarkable and bloody transformation in its cultural and historical context, illustrating how the advancements made in these four years reverberated throughout the western world for years to come.

Analyzing the changes in education, society, humanitarianism, and technology in addition to the scientific strides of the period lends Healing a Divided Nation a uniquely wide lens to the topic, expanding the legacy of the developments made. The echoes of Civil War medicine are in every ambulance, every vaccination, every woman who holds a paying job, and in every Black university graduate. Those echoes are in every response of the International and American Red Cross and they are in the recommended international protocol for the treatment of prisoners of war and wounded soldiers.

Beginning with the state of medicine at the outset of the war, when doctors did not even know about sterilizing their tools, Adrienne illuminates the transformation in American healthcare through primary source texts that document the lives and achievements of the individuals who pioneered these changes in medicine and society. The story that ensues is one of American innovation and resilience in the face of unparalleled violence, adding a new dimension to the legacy of the Civil War.

Carole Adrienne received her B.F.A. from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia.  She has organized an archive for Old St. Joseph’s National Shrine, twice chaired “Archives Week” in Philadelphia and has served on advisory panels for the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historic Research Center, The Mutter Museum’s “Civil War Medicine” exhibit and its “Spit Spreads Death: The 1918 Flu Epidemic” exhibit.  She is working on a documentary film series on Civil War medicine and lives in Philadelphia, PA. This is her first book. 

Buy it now in print:

Buy it now in ebook:

Endorsements & Reviews