This work touches upon a wide range of issues, more or less closely related to the trauma surrounding, the management of, and the aftermath of sustaining a serious burn. Divided into three sections, the work first defines burns not only on a biological basis, but as distinguished psychologically and historically from other forms of physical trauma.

In Part II the authors explore ancient myths and then images from modern culture that they contend define social perceptions about the meaning of being a burn victim. The final section poses problems that remain in the technique of burn management in its most holistic sense. An extensive bibliography/filmography completes the book.


Although difficult at times to follow due to the massive number of considerations the authors try to work into this treatise, there are obvious useful insights into several aspects of burn as specific form of trauma. The sections that introduce the cultural visions of the meaning of burns are interesting and treated in some detail. Alluded to frequently, but never clearly brought to full exploration, are the special problems of those persons who survive burns but are physically and emotionally disabled as a result.

There are just enough intrusions into the workings of a modern burn unit to satisfy the curious without overburdening him or her with technical detail. Not included are detailed case studies that follow some typical burned persons through the pre-trauma period, the event itself, the acute recovery, and the long term effects on the victims, their families, or their caregivers. These would seem a useful supplement to help to personalize the portions of the book that are more abstract and theoretical.


Univ. of Pennsylvania Press

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