Hospital Sketches

Hospital Sketches - Louisa May Alcott This book is Alcott's memoir of her time nursing in a Civil War-era hospital, and was particularly timely reading due to the recent 150th anniversary of Pres. Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Alcott makes reference to her family's abolitionist beliefs, as well as the New Year's Day effective date of the proclamation, as contemporaneous with her nursing days.At times the book seems a little light-hearted (which was also a criticism leveled during the time it was published), but I think Alcott was trying very hard to inject some humanity into the horrific situations she witnessed. Stories of kindnesses between fellow soldiers, nurses and physicians are intermingled with sad tales of loss, injury and hard times.Those who know Alcott best for her "Little Women/Little Men" tales find a different sort of writer here: an early and fearless feminist who wanted to experience life, even at its most difficult, rather than be protected from it as so many women were in her day.Highly recommended.