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The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe,the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club

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The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in airplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale. Before World War II, plastic surgery was in its infancy. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe - nickname The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in airplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale. Before World War II, plastic surgery was in its infancy. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe - nicknamed 'the Boss' or 'the Maestro' - operating at a small hospital in East Grinstead in the south of England. McIndoe constructed a medical infrastructure from scratch. After arguing with his superiors, he set up a revolutionary new treatment regime. Uniquely concerned with the social environment, or 'holistic care', McIndoe also enlisted the help of the local civilian population. He rightly secured his group of patients - dubbed the Guinea Pig Club - an honored place in society as heroes of Britain's war. For the first time official records have been used to explain fully how and why this remarkable relationship developed between the Guinea Pig Club, the RAF and the Home Front. First-person recollections bring to life the heroism of the airmen with incredible clarity.


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The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in airplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale. Before World War II, plastic surgery was in its infancy. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe - nickname The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in airplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale. Before World War II, plastic surgery was in its infancy. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe - nicknamed 'the Boss' or 'the Maestro' - operating at a small hospital in East Grinstead in the south of England. McIndoe constructed a medical infrastructure from scratch. After arguing with his superiors, he set up a revolutionary new treatment regime. Uniquely concerned with the social environment, or 'holistic care', McIndoe also enlisted the help of the local civilian population. He rightly secured his group of patients - dubbed the Guinea Pig Club - an honored place in society as heroes of Britain's war. For the first time official records have been used to explain fully how and why this remarkable relationship developed between the Guinea Pig Club, the RAF and the Home Front. First-person recollections bring to life the heroism of the airmen with incredible clarity.

30 review for The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe,the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    You will not have read a World War Two history like it. Dr Mayhew tells the story of Britain's aerial conflict through the stories of the men that fought it and sacrificed for it. It is a sensitive and original look at how the dog-fights and thousand bomber raids really affected the servicemen involved. Mayhew obviously devotes considerable space to the personality and work of Archibald McIndoe, but stops short of giving the reader another biography. This book is about the men and women who fough You will not have read a World War Two history like it. Dr Mayhew tells the story of Britain's aerial conflict through the stories of the men that fought it and sacrificed for it. It is a sensitive and original look at how the dog-fights and thousand bomber raids really affected the servicemen involved. Mayhew obviously devotes considerable space to the personality and work of Archibald McIndoe, but stops short of giving the reader another biography. This book is about the men and women who fought the war for five years from their homeland. Some of the medical concepts are quite involved but Mayhew eschews technical language and descriptions, making the book accessible for even the least medically-minded reader. The book does focus very much on The Guinea Pig Club and its members, and critics will argue that some of Mayhew's points are underdeveloped. However, a glance at the bibliography will show that Mayhew has thoroughly researched and understands the period, if the confident tone and approach to writing had not already demonstrated that to the reader. If you want a book about military strategy and political influence this book is not for you. If you want to understand the sacrifice that young airman made for their country and find out what happened after the dog-fights and nightly bombing raids, then this book will not disappoint.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    The subject of burns-injured airmen from WW2 could easily be written up emotively, but this excellent narrative of the early history of plastic surgery and the ground-breaking work of Archibald McIndoe with the RAF comes with objectivity and captures the essence of the Guinea Pig Club and the town that embraced them. Gives a clear view on the importance of Bomber Command to any true understanding of WW2.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andy Marso

    It's pretty dry, really. Only people who have some experience with burn treatments like me would probably be interested in it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    This was an easy to read book about the early history of reconstructive surgery. As well as fascinating details about the service of the men who fought in the second world war, it was also an interesting analysis of the significance of the burned airmen for the ongoing war effort and the way burned casualties were reintegrated into society.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rupert Matthews

    This is a fascinating book. It tells the story well and in just enough detail for the average reader. Too much medical detail and I would have got lost. Not enough and I would not have appreciated the huge skills involved. Overall, very good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Street

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Burrows

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jean Rouleau

  9. 4 out of 5

    James Roy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shade

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  13. 5 out of 5

    Annabelle

  14. 4 out of 5

    Citoongirl

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Calder

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Barraclough

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura Wicking

  20. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  22. 4 out of 5

    Neil

  23. 5 out of 5

    Terence Teevan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzy Henderson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ska

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Vance

  27. 4 out of 5

    martin sole

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Madison

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jane

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