During her imperial heyday, Britain's greatest fighting force - the
Royal Navy - was only ever as good as its surgeons. "Surgeons of
the Fleet" explores the dramatic story of medical practice on the
high seas, offering the first full portrait of the men who
dedicated their lives to the Navy, and their contribution to its
efficacy as a military machine. With vivid and occasionally
eye-watering description, David McLean traces the development of
naval medicine from the gory days of Cook and Nelson - when as many
as 65 per cent of maritime casualties were due to illness - through
to the outbreak of World War I, recounting the advances in surgery,
diet and hygiene which allowed Britannia to rule the waves.
"Surgeons of the Fleet" also offers a unique window into the
development of public health programmes on land, many of which grew
out of maritime initiatives. Brimming with original research and
colourful storytelling, "Surgeons of the Fleet" makes an invaluable
contribution to the fields of military and imperial history.
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