Preview – Guy Hasegawa “Mending Broken Soldiers”

7 10 2012

Sometimes the most mundane questions can lead to great enlightenment. Take for instance Mark Wilson’s The Business of Civil War. It opened my eyes in many ways, and actually led to a better understanding of how and why things worked the way they worked during the war, logistically speaking.

So here’s a question: how did the private and public sectors of the Union and Confederacy deal with the huge increase in the number of amputees in their respective populations? What happened when a previously limited demand for artificial limbs became widespread? Guy Hasegawa has taken on these questions in Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs. I received a copy recently and have skimmed it over. This slim volume relies on an impressive amount of published and unpublished materials, and appears to be clearly and concisely constructed. I’ll be reading this one next, and am really looking forward to it.

UPDATE: Author Guy Hasegawa has consented to an interview – keep an eye out for it here.



4 responses

8 10 2012
Damian Shiels

It looks like a fascinating book I will have to check it out. The lives of physically and mentally injured soldiers after their injuries is a really interesting topic and something I am trying to learn more about- there are some heart breaking stories out there


9 10 2012
Guy Hasegawa

Damian, you’re absolutely right. In fact, I think that whatever success these artificial-limbs programs had was largely attributable to the fact that they were run by military surgeons, who knew first-hand about the efffects of the injuries and that their country needed to help. What really made me appreciate the human scope of amputations were the seemingly endless lists of men who applied for or received artificial limbs. These, by the way, are available online as a supplement to the book.


12 10 2012
Damian Shiels


You have convinced me that it is a must read (as has Harry by posting about it!)- the online supplement is a great idea. I am looking forward to getting my hands on it!

Kind Regards,



9 10 2012
Robert Redd

Harry, I finished it over the weekend and posted my thoughts on my blog. It’s a great book that you will no doubt enjoy. I had thought of asking about setting up an interview as well so I am looking forward to yours.


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