The Backwash of War was written by the American nurse and writer Ellen N. LaMotte. Educated and trained at the John Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses in Baltimore, La Motte became an expert in tuberculosis nursing. Her controversial views on tuberculosis prevention were set down in her first book, The Tuberculosis Nurse (1914). Active in the campaign for women’s suffrage in the United States, LaMotte moved to Paris in 1913, and volunteered with the American Ambulance on the outbreak of war. The Backwash of War is based on her experience of working in a French military hospital.