Between Flesh and Steel


Between Flesh and Steel

A History of Military Medicine from the Middle Ages to the War in Afghanistan

Richard A. Gabriel

312 pages
10 tables, 2 figures


April 2016


$24.95 Add to Cart

January 2013


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

February 2013


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Over the last five centuries, the development of modern weapons and warfare has created an entirely new set of challenges for practitioners in the field of military medicine. Between Flesh and Steel traces the development of military medicine from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century.
               Military historian Richard A. Gabriel focuses on three key elements: the modifications in warfare and weapons whose increased killing power radically changed the medical challenges that battle surgeons faced in dealing with casualties; advancements in medical techniques that increased the effectiveness of military medical care; and changes that finally brought about the establishment of military medical care systems in modern times. Chronological and cross-cultural, Between Flesh and Steel is the most comprehensive book on the market about the evolution of modern military medicine. 

Author Bio

Richard A. Gabriel is a distinguished professor in the Department of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada and in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than forty books, including Man and Wound in the Ancient World: A History of Military Medicine from Sumer to the Fall of Constantinople (Potomac, 2011) and The Madness of Alexander the Great and the Myth of Military Genius.


“Richard Gabriel’s grasp of matters military and medical—amply illuminated by his spirited writing style—brings a novel perspective to centuries of combat. From the dawn of firearms in the fifteenth century to the war in Afghanistan in the twenty-first, this intriguing book is nothing less than a history of Western warfare told from the perspective of the casualties and medics and physicians who treated their wounds. Gabriel has once again given us an outstanding work of military history.”—Michael Robbins, editor of Military History Magazine

“[Between Flesh and Steel] will introduce medical professionals, historians, and general readers to a very different perspective on war, one they need to understand if they wish to fully comprehend how human suffering has influenced the history of conflict.”—John Scott Cowan, principal emeritus, Royal Military College of Canada, and chair, Defence Science Advisory Board of Canada

“With this latest addition to his already impressive list of books, Richard Gabriel, the most prolific military historian of his generation, writes with his usual insight, eloquence, and attention to detail about an oft-neglected aspect of the history of armed conflict: the development of military medicine and its contributions to the revolution in medical science. In doing so, he has produced what must be regarded as the definitive treatment of the subject, one from which historians, medical practitioners, and general readers will learn much. A very valuable book that is highly recommended.”—Steve Weingartner, coauthor of Faithful Warriors: A Combat Marine Remembers the Pacific War

"Between Flesh and Steel is a worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in history."—NYMAS Review

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Emergence of Modern Warfare: 1453 to the Twenty-First Century
2. The Renaissance and the Rebirth of the Empirical Spirit
3. The Seventeenth Century: Gunpowder and Slaughter
4. The Eighteenth Century: The First Effective Military Medical Systems
5. The Nineteenth Century: The Age of Amputation
6. The Twentieth Century: The Emergence of Modern Military Medicine
7. The Twenty-First Century: Unconventional Warfare
8. Some Thoughts on War

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