RYAN, Charles Snoddgrass, and John SANDES. Under the Red Crescent. Adventures of an English Surgeon with the Turkish Army at Plevna and Erzeroum, 1877-1878.

London, Murray, 1897.


8vo. Splendid school prize binding for Dulwich College, dated 1904, of blue full calf, blocked in gilt; pp. xix, 435, photogravure portrait and two maps, printed on good quality paper and well-preserved.

Very rare first edition. Pleven in Bulgaria was known as Plevna during the Russo-Turkish war in 1877, when the battle for Plevna became the key for claiming victory in the war. After five months of bloody siege, the Russians entered the town in 10 December 1877. The Eastern Anatolian city of Erzerum was attacked and, after overcoming strong resistance, was captured by the Russian army later that same war. The Australian surgeon Ryan (1853-1926) 'undertook postgraduate study in Bonn and Vienna. In Rome, he saw in the London Times an advertisement by the Turkish government for twenty military surgeons. Seeking adventure and experience, he returned to London, was interviewed at the Turkish embassy, and two days later was en route to Constantinople. In mid-1876 he served in the final stages of the Turko-Servian war and then in the Russo-Turkish campaign of 1877-78. He spent more than four months in the siege of Plevna (Pleven, Bulgaria), which led to his nickname 'Plevna', and finally at Erzeroum in Turkish Armenia, after the fall of which he became a Russian prisoner of war. For his war services he was decorated with the Turkish orders of the Osmanieh and the Medjidie and the War medal' (Australian Dictionary of Biography). - One of the best and most insightful reports of this war, written not without humor and highly legible. Ryan, the surgeon, of course describes the treatment of wounds, amputations, and the care for the wounded.