New book from press explores war medical battlefield

Massey University Press’ latest book, With Them Through Hell: New Zealand medical services in the First World War by Anna Rogers, explores New Zealand’s Great War medical battlefield, abroad and at home.

For New Zealanders, WW1 was not just a gruelling conflict but also the nation’s biggest health challenge.

Military personnel had to deal with horrific injuries caused by high velocity bullets, artillery fire and chemical weapons. Infectious diseases were a constant and grave threat.

Health workers prepared and supported the 100,000 New Zealand servicemen and servicewomen who served overseas, while those who stayed at home had to fill the gaps left by absent colleagues.

In the midst of this, the devastating 1918 influenza pandemic hit both troops overseas and New Zealanders at home.

For the first time, this book tells the collective story of how troops were supported and cared for by dedicated teams of doctors, nurses, dentists, ambulance officers, orderlies and sanitation and hygiene workers, and the important role of veterinarians in caring for horses.

It explores the coming of age of New Zealand health services and details such significant figures as Henry Pickerill and Harold Gillies, who rebuilt shattered faces and treated burn victims — in doing becoming the fathers of plastic surgery.

With Them Through Hell celebrates the way New Zealanders delivered the best of healthcare under the most difficult circumstances.

About the author

Anna Rogers has spent most of her working life as a book editor. She has an Master of Arts in English from University of Canterbury and has also worked as a bookseller and as a sub- editor for the Listener. She has worked for most of the major New Zealand publishers, editing both fiction and non-fiction. Anna has also adapted books for radio and is a book reviewer and she is the author of eight non-fiction books, including While You’re Away: New Zealand Nurses at War 1899–1948, A Lucky Landing: The Story of the Irish in New Zealand and illustrated histories of Canterbury and the West Coast.

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