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Medical History

China Gadabouts

New Frontiers of Humanitarian Nursing, 1941–51

by (author) Susan Armstrong-Reid

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2017
History, General, China
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2018
    List Price

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The Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) had a devastating impact on China’s population. Braving bandits and disease, the China Convoy – a Quaker-sponsored humanitarian unit – provided medical relief in the unoccupied territory of “Free China” and later to both sides in the ensuing civil war. China Gadabouts examines the roles played by Western and Chinese nurses in the Convoy’s humanitarian efforts from 1941 to 1951. In so doing, it re-examines the quandaries of Quakers’ purportedly apolitical global engagement that remain salient for contemporary humanitarians. China Gadabouts illuminates the dilemmas, challenges, and opportunities presented by humanitarian work within a Western-based relief organization.

About the author


  • Winner, Lavina L. Dock Award, American Association for the History of Nursing

Contributor Notes

Susan Armstrong-Reid is an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph. She is the author of Lyle Creelman: The Frontiers of Global Nursing (2014) and coauthor, with David Murray, of Armies of Peace: Canada and the UNRRA Years (2008). In 2016, she was the recipient of the H-15 Grant from the American Association for the History of Nursing, and in 2012–13 of the Lillian Sholtis Brunner Fellowship from the Barbara Bates Centre for the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. A member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing, she also serves on the Leadership Advisory Board at the University of Guelph.

Editorial Reviews

The book contributes in an interesting and valuable way to the history of nursing by women in faith.

Health and History, Vol. 20, No. 2