A Weary Road: Shell Shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918

By Mark Osborne Humphries

© 2018

More than 16,000 Canadian soldiers suffered from shell shock during the Great War of 1914 to 1918. Despite significant interest from historians, we still know relatively little about how it was experienced, diagnosed, treated, and managed in the frontline trenches in the Canadian and British forces.

How did soldiers relate to suffering comrades? Did large numbers of shell shock cases affect the outcome of important battles? Was frontline psychiatric treatment as effective as many experts claimed after the war? Were Canadians treated any differently than other Commonwealth soldiers? A Weary Road is the first comprehensive study to address these important questions. Author Mark Osborne Humphries uses research from Canadian, British, and Australian archives, including hundreds of newly available hospital records and patient medical files, to provide a history of war trauma as it was experienced, treated, and managed by ordinary soldiers.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.6in x 9.1in
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  • PUBLISHED SEP 2019

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  • PUBLISHED NOV 2018

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Quick Overview

Mark Osborne Humphries uses patient records and official army files from Canadian, British and Australian archives to examine war trauma as it was experienced, treated and managed in the frontlines of the British and Canadian forces during the First World War.

A Weary Road: Shell Shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918

By Mark Osborne Humphries

© 2018

More than 16,000 Canadian soldiers suffered from shell shock during the Great War of 1914 to 1918. Despite significant interest from historians, we still know relatively little about how it was experienced, diagnosed, treated, and managed in the frontline trenches in the Canadian and British forces.

How did soldiers relate to suffering comrades? Did large numbers of shell shock cases affect the outcome of important battles? Was frontline psychiatric treatment as effective as many experts claimed after the war? Were Canadians treated any differently than other Commonwealth soldiers? A Weary Road is the first comprehensive study to address these important questions. Author Mark Osborne Humphries uses research from Canadian, British, and Australian archives, including hundreds of newly available hospital records and patient medical files, to provide a history of war trauma as it was experienced, treated, and managed by ordinary soldiers.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.6in x 9.1in
  • Reviews

    "With A Weary Road, Humphries deftly tackles the immensely complicated topic of shell shock: how it was understood and diagnosed, the vivisions within the medical community, how treatment evlved over the course of the war, and how medical and military interests could collide."


    David MacKenzie
    Literary Review of Canada, Vol 27, no. 2

    A Weary Road will greatly enhance the investigation and literature of war-related trauma and mental health issues, by providing historical context to sustained research and treatment.”


    Timothy C. Winegard, Department of History, Colorado Mesa University

    "A Weary Road is a nuanced and persuasive study of a much misunderstood subject. Mark Osborne Humphreys shows great empathy for the soldiers he writes about, as well as a refreshing willingness to cut through the mythology surrounding shell shock. Much of what we have been told about the subject will have to be rethought in light of his compelling research."


    Jonathan F. Vance, Department of History, Western University

    "Shell shock is a powerful trope for understanding the horror of trench warfare. Dr Humphries offers a new way to make sense of this injury in the context of the time through his extensive research into multiple archives around the world. A Weary Road will become a classic in the field of military and medical history, as it explores the many complexities facing soldiers, senior commanders, and medical authorities in treating shell shock."


    Tim Cook, Canadian War Museum, and author of Vimy: The Battle and the Legend (2017)

    "Based on massive research into untapped archival sources, A Weary Road is a first-rate study by one of the nation’s very best young military historians. This well-written volume adds much to our understanding of shell shock, wartime medical practices, and Canada’s Great War."


    J.L. Granatstein, author of The Greatest Victory: Canada’s One Hundred Days, 1918

    "Humphries’ detailed, evidence-based account of combat-stress in the Great War sets a new standard for historians, fascinating and readable throughout."


    Terry Copp, Canadian military historian and professor emeritus at Wilfrid Laurier University, Director of the Laurier Centre for Military and Strategic Disarmament Studies
  • Author Information

    Mark Osborne Humphries is the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience, Director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) and an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University.
  • Table of contents

    List of Tables and Figures
    Acknowledgments
    List of Abbreviations

    Introduction
    1 Framing Shell Shock: Nervous Illness before the Great War
    2 Purely Shattered Nerves: British and Canadian Approaches to Treatment, 1914–1915
    3 Baptism of Fire: The Ypres Salient, 1915
    4 The CEF’s Shell Shock Crisis, Spring 1916
    5 Treatment of Evacuated Cases, 1915–1916
    6 The BEF’s Shell Shock Crisis on the Somme, June–November 1916
    7 Managing Shell Shock at the Front, October 1916-June 1917
    8 Illusions of Success: The NYDN Centres, June–December 1917
    9 Failure and Retrenchment, 1917–1918

    Conclusion

    Appendix A: Special Shell Shock Hospitals and NYDN Centres in Army Areas
    Appendix B: A Note on First World War Medical Sources

    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index

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