Russia's Sisters of Mercy and the Great War: More Than Binding Men's Wounds

TitleRussia's Sisters of Mercy and the Great War: More Than Binding Men's Wounds
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsStoff, Laurie
Number of Pages375
PublisherUniversity Press of Kansas

While Russian nursing shared many features of women's medical service in other nations, it was in some ways profoundly different. Like soldiers and doctors, the nurses, especially those at the frontlines, experienced extreme cold, constant fatigue, infectious diseases, deadly artillery fire, and aerial bombardment. They also assumed public leadership roles and were often in command of men. The nurses operated in a sphere traditionally considered exclusively masculine and challenged social conventions surrounding gender and war by engaging in activities considered inappropriate for women. Filled with compelling eyewitness accounts of women who stepped outside their assigned roles in Russian society, this book provides a view of what wartime service was like for these nurses in the Great War. The excerpts of memoirs and diaries, contemporary periodicals and reminiscences compiled by the author reveal these women's motivations, the nature and specifics of their work, the cultural stereotypes and conventions that shaped their experiences, and their interactions with the men they cared for and served with. The author also explores the cultural and social implications of the Sisters' service--in relation to the government, the military, and the church--both immediate and long-term. 

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