Book review: While Bullets Fly

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 50 , No. 9 , November 2008 , Pages 518 News

by Ian Bruce Robertson

Book cover for - While Bullets Fly

While Bullets Fly by Ian Bruce Rob­ertson. Victoria: Trafford Publishing, 2008. ISBN 1-4251-3512-9. Paperback, 343 pages. $23.

Numerous books have been written on the exploits of the First Canadian Infantry Division and its supporting units during their march through Sicily and up the east coast of Italy. Mr Robertson’s book adds to this history by focusing on the medical units assigned to the British Eighth Army, and in particular the First Canadian Infantry Division.

Mr Robertson’s introduction to each chapter provides a brief over­view of the Italian campaign. The majority of Mr Robertson’s book, though, is a fairly detailed description of the various Canadian medical units’ movements during this battle. Unfortunately, this logistical account will appeal only to a limited number of people. I was disappointed that I was not provided a better appreciation for members of the Canadian Medical Corps, including the author’s father, Dr Rocke Robertson.

The author devotes minimal time describing the actual surgical treatments of various traumatic injuries. I was hoping that he would have de­tailed various innovations that had developed in the treatment of battlefield injuries. Mr Robertson did relate how the understanding and treatment for “shell shock” had changed such that Canadian soldiers did receive much more appropriate care. The in­troduction of penicillin and its use by wartime physicians was informative. My father was a Seaforth Highlander and a veteran of the Italian campaign. That was my major motivation for finishing this book. If Mr Robertson’s book was focused less on logistics and more on the medical providers and the medicine they practised during this tumultuous time, this book would have been much more interesting. 

—Ted Bain, MD
San Antonio, Texas

Ted Bain, MD,. Book review: While Bullets Fly. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 9, November, 2008, Page(s) 518 - News.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply