Mary Seacole: The Black Woman Who Invented Modern Nursing

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9780786714148: Mary Seacole: The Black Woman Who Invented Modern Nursing
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She was a black woman, and she flouted convention. In an age that put ladies in the parlor and preferred them to be seen and not heard, she was nursing the British wounded, not in hospital wards with Florence Nightingale but on the Crimean battlefieldsand off them, she was running a restaurant and hotel. She purveyed homemade pickles in England; she mined for gold in Panama. For unabashed individuality, Mary Jane Grant Seacole knew no peer. Yet Punch, the Times, the Illustrated London News all ardently touted her, and Queen Victoria herself entertained her. Mary Seacolechildless widow of Horatio Nelson's godson and "good ole Mother Seacole" to the soldiers at Sebastopolwas Britain's first black heroine, and this robust, engaging biography by social historian Jane Robinson shows why. In a narrative driven by colorful adventure, Robinson charts Seacole's amazing odyssey from her native Kingston, Jamaica, to her adopted London, via Panama, where she lent her doctoring and nursing skills to catastrophic outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever, and the Crimea, where she founded the famous British Hotel. Seacole makes numerous other eventful stops along the way, and everywhere, even in the face of disappointment, disaster, and loss, her indomitable spirit prevails.

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