Dennis Rasbach, MD. FACS.
Savas Beatie, 2018, 120 pp., $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
In 2018, one of the most monumental works on the American Civil War was released. The War Outside My Window not only took the Civil War world by storm, but was ranked as one of the best new releases on the subject. I, myself, found the narrative of this young boy’s journal to be fascinating, to say the least. But the subject matter did not end there. Here, we have I Am Perhaps Dying, which is the story of the medical issues which LeRoy Wiley Gresham underwent through the former mentioned work. Now, the medical issues were addressed in the young boy’s writing, but this work delves deeper into spinal tuberculosis which he suffered from.
Dennis Rasbach, MD., FACS, is a graduate from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a practicing surgeon and has authored a previous work on the American Civil War. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign: His Supposed Charge from Fort Hell, his Near-Mortal Wound, and a Civil War Myth Reconsidered, was released in 2016. He is also a member of the Civil War Round Table of Southwest Michigan.
I have always been fascinated by Civil War medicine and every time I read about it, there’s just something missing. As with Rasbach’s work on Chamberlain, he doesn’t disappoint in this work. He addressed spinal tuberculosis in such a way that I felt the topic was well drawn out for once. Once of the book’s portions which I found to be fascinating was the medical history of the condition and how it was diagnosed in previous ages. While this book mainly focuses on young LeRoy Wiley Gresham, a decent amount of this book talks about medicine in this age while using his story as a backdrop. For that, Rasbach should be commended. This is not an easy subject to write about, especially to those who are not in the know of medical jargon, but he makes it understandable for the reader. As I was reading through the book, I gained a greater knowledge on this era and the medicine which came from it. As a companion book to The War Outside My Window, this work is perfect. He even addresses when LeRoy Gresham wanted nothing more than for the doctors to saw off his leg. While the section is not completely in depth, there are parts within that portion that gives the reader pause to the type of world, medically, that they were living through back then. It makes one glad to see progression in this field.
I highly recommend this work to any interested in Civil War Medicine and all who read The War Outside My Window. Not only is this a perfect companion piece to the aforementioned work, but it is a great resource when it comes to Civil War Medicine. Rasbach does a phenomenal job in portraying what medicine was like and what Gresham went through in his life with Spinal Tuberculosis. Those who are not savvy on medical lingo should not be concerned since his writing style allows for an understanding for all who read it. Highly recommended!