Contacts and Contrasts

TitleContacts and Contrasts
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1940
AuthorsGleichen, Helena
Number of Pages344
PublisherJohn Murray

Helena Gleichen, Queen Victoria's great-niece and cousin to George V, gives the lie to the belief that Victorian women were meek, submissive and led restricted lives. A passionate horsewoman and successful artist, the autobiographical anecdotes in the earlier part of the book are lively and amusing. The longer second section gives a detailed account of how she and Nina Hollings, her long-term companion and sister of the composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth, raised and manned one of the first mobile X-Ray units to be used by the British in World War I - Marie Curie was organizing the French radiography service - for which they both received numerous decorations. Helena Gleichen paints a vivid picture of the war in Italy, which tends to be little remembered compared to the Western Front, and above all gives an extremely interesting account of how the X-ray Unit was set up and operated, and the considerable impact it had on the treatment and survival rate of the wounded.

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