In the aftermath of the Battle of Britain, airmen filled a small Sussex town where pioneering plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe established revolutionary surgical and therapeutic treatments.
For the child Liz Byrski, the burnt faces of these airmen filled her nightmares.
In her late sixties, Liz returned to make peace with her memories and to speak not only with the survivors – known as the Guinea Pig Club – but with the nurses who played a vital and unorthodox role in their treatment, sometimes at a significant personal cost.
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Reviews and comments
‘This is a book about the heroes and heroines who unflinchingly met the demands and challenges of their day … a remarkable and moving story’. Professor Fiona Wood, AM
‘Her strength as a writer of substance shines through in this easy-to-read account of her investigation into the Guinea Pigs Club men and the women who nursed them.’ The West Australian
‘With impressive skill, Liz Byrski has combined memoir, archival research and interviews to produce one of the best books I’ve read about the complex casualties and consequences of war’ New Zealand Listener
‘Byrski anatomises the heroic mythology of the Battle of Britain and the medical treatment provided to severely burned RAF airmen’ Weekend Australian
The Last Post magazine ran an excerpt from the book in their 2015 Remembrance Day summer edition – From The Last Post – review in love and war.
Good Reading magazine included a feature written by Angus Dalton in their May 2015 edition – good reading in love and war feature.
Karen O’Brien Hall for Startsat60.com said in her review:
Liz Byrski is an author highly regarded for her works of fiction including Gang of Four, Belly Dancing for Beginners, Family Secrets and my personal favourite Last Chance Café. Her memoir Remember Me is excellent reading, full of life and love.
Now in her latest book, a work of non-fiction, Professor Byrski tells a story unfamiliar to most of us, about heroes, the man who tried to make them whole, the village who welcomed them and the women who nursed them. At the same time, she takes a journey into her own childhood and we learn more about the woman behind the books.
I’ve been privileged this year to read some great books. In Love and War: Nursing Heroes by Liz Byrski, however, is not a great book … it is an outstanding book by an outstanding author who is equally at home with fiction and non-fiction.