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"The Backwash of War is an important book. Through her sensitive and informed editing, Wachtell paints a subtle picture of LaMotte that includes censorship, suffragism, her relationship with the lesbian avant-garde scene in Paris, political activism, and her influence on other American writers."

"With The Backwash of War, Cynthia Wachtell not only makes available a forgotten classic anti-war book, but also provides an insightful biography and an astute introduction to the war writing of Ellen La Motte, whose approach to describing the human cost of war was genuinely innovative."

"Long before A Farewell to Arms or All Quiet on the Western Front, a trailblazing American nurse captured the bloody absurdity of World War I so perfectly she was censored for telling the truth. Read now; don't let Ellen La Motte sit in obscurity a moment longer. But be warned—these devastating stories, like a German shell, will rip your guts out. "

"In editing the new scholarly edition of Backwash, Wachtell added illuminating introductory and biographical essays robustly researched from primary sources; a bibliography; timeline; photographs; and three wartime essays by La Motte... More than a century after its appearance, Backwash remains a truth bomb."

"The Wachtell edition - a fascinating mix of history, literature and women's studies - is a very important piece of scholarship, deserving of a wide audience... When one thinks of literary classics of WWI, Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, and perhaps E.E. Cummings' The Enormous Room usually come to mind... And now there's this one, The Backwash of War: An Extraordinary American Nurse in World War I, which came before any of those others... My congratulations to Dr. Wachtell. My highest recommendation."

"The most comprehensive and authoritative edition of a classic... The editor's exhaustive research has resulted in a rounded, impressive and sympathetic portrait of a fascinating woman who was a great humanitarian and whose claim to fame is not confined to The Backwash of War. The book should be compulsory reading for anyone considering joining the military and also their dearest and nearest."

"It is a book in certain ways more remarkable than anything any American has written about the great conflict. In it a woman pictures the war she sees—the physical, mental, moral slime of it—with... frank, crusading ruthlessness."

"If we were to compile an anthology of the ten best war stories about eight of them would be listed under the name of Ellen N. La Motte and credited to The Backwash of War."

"[La Motte] has rendered an invaluable service to mankind. The world must be prepared for peace, and the only way to accomplish this end is to expose the loathsome truths regarding modern warfare."

"In this volume [an] American hospital nurse lays bare some of the most hideous effects of the war as seen in an evacuation hospital a few miles behind the French lines. These sketches are far from pleasant reading, but they are absolutely truthful and accurate reports of what went on at the front."

"A glance at any of Miss La Motte's articles will show that she has no illusions whatever concerning war. The scales have fallen from her eyes; she sees the struggle as Swift might have seen it."

"[La Motte] portrays with a frankness and realism that are painful the unheroic, the loathsome aspects of war as witnessed by an American nurse in a French field hospital."

"Told in sharp, quick sentences—and relating events in a field hospital near the French lines... The Backwash of War literally breathes, or sobs, sincerity."

"Ellen La Motte here shows us war... not magnificent and glorious, but naked and loathsome, as seen in an evacuation hospital."

"It tells unsparingly all that there is to tell—all that has never been told before. [It is] a tremendous artistic achievement."

"The most horrible war book ever written is The Backwash of War, by Miss Ellen La Motte, an American nurse who served with the French army. It is so bad that, when the United States entered the late war, it was suppressed by the department of justice."