|Romanian Peasants During the War (IWM)|
by Joseph Breckinridge-Bayne and Ernest Latham
Center for Romanian Studies, 2018
Bryan Alexander, Reviewer
|Dr. J. Breckinridge-Bayne|
Bugs and Bullets is a compelling read. There are several great scenes and mini-stories, such as the author's bare survival from successive diseases, accompanied by self-surgery in the dark (!) (174–5). Bayne's various efforts to mislead and oppose German military authorities are also exciting.
Readers interested in medicine and healthcare history should appreciate the book's stories of creative or desperate efforts to stave off illnesses and address injuries under appalling circumstances. Those mindful of COVID-19 will doubtless pay special attention to Bayne's campaigns against smallpox, cholera, and typhus.
Bayne is also not one to showcase his emotions or mental state, beyond celebrating his cleverness or lucky escapes. Several times he starts to mention a feeling, only to draw a curtain across it (187–8, 209, 217).
This edition of Bugs and Bullets has much to add to the text. Many footnotes expand on points throughout the narrative. Several photographs are provided, apparently many from the author's collection. A biographical introduction gives us familial context. Two extra introductions and a series of letters add even more. Highly recommended for those interested in WWI, medical history, autobiography, or a mix of these.