This study of the personality and achievements of Florence Nightingale is based on extensive research and unpublished material. She achieved fame for her leadership of a group of British nurses during the Crimean War, and afterwards she dedicated herself to promoting public health. Following a collapse at age 37, she remained bedridden for more than ten years and became one of history's most famous invalids. Hugh Small has produced a new and startling explanation of Florence Nightingale's actions, comparing the conflicting contemporary accounts of what really happened in her hospital at Scutari during the war and uncovering an official cover-up of a public health disaster for which Nightingale felt personally responsible.
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Hugh Small is now retired and living in North London.
In 1854, Florence Nightingale sailed from England with 38 nurses, bound for the Scutari barracks in Constantinople and the Crimean War. Two years later, she returned a world figure: Queen Victoria sent her an inscribed brooch, and a public subscription raised over a million pounds to fund the training of hospital nurses. Then, at age 37, Nightingale collapsed and remained an invalid for ten years. Basing his study on extensive research into previously unpublished material, Small (a London-based management consultant) attributes Nightingale's collapse to her discovery that her well-publicized nursing efforts at Scutari had made no difference: "[She] had not been running a hospital. She had been running a death camp." The real culprits, he notes, were bad drains, overcrowding, and poor ventilation. Once past her distress, Nightingale moved to expose the government cover-up. This book should reestablish Nightingale as a major figure in 19th-century health reform. Recommended for scholarly collections and larger general collections.ADavid Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
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