Posts tagged ‘Florence Nightingale’

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, a LOT TO UNPACK

Extraordinary Women in History, 70 Remarkable Women Who Made a Difference

Written by Leah Gail

This book is packed with information. The author explores the lives of 70 women, some of whom are well-known and others left forgotten in the annals of history.

Familiar faces include Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Dian Fossey, and Joan of Arc. Their field of endeavor ranges from military heroes, activists, athletes, inventors, and creative thinkers. The book harkens back to ancient and medieval times as well as contemporary examples. These women are representative of many races and many countries.

There is a bibliography for additional research. This book would be a good starting point for research on women representatives to be used in the study of woman’s history. My reason for a lower rating is that the writing is choppy in sections which can make it difficult to read. I would still recommend it as a reference book, particularly for middle-grade students.

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A LIFELONG DILEMMA

Florence Nightingale: A Life Inspired

Written by Lynn M. Hamilton

This is an interesting biography that focuses on Nightingale’s personal struggles as well as her pioneering work in nursing. Florence was born into a wealthy English Victorian family. Throughout her life, Florence was torn between what was expected of woman born to a well-to-do nineteenth-century family and her strong ties to the Unitarian Church, which demanded community service to those less fortunate in society. Her family’s wide travels in Europe allowed her to meet powerful thinkers like Victor Hugo and Alexis De Tocqueville. While her family urged her to marry, Florence resisted. By the time she was thirty-two, Florence had asserted her independence by assuming a role as superintendent of a nursing home even though she received no salary. Her service in the Crimean War revealed the serious flaws in hospital care. More soldiers died from their illnesses than in battle. Nightingale demanded that abuses like poor lighting, sanitation, and ventilation be addressed. She urged proper training for nursing students and hospital sanitation, reflecting the germ theory of illness.

I was not aware of Florence’s work in India and the depth of personal struggle she experienced between her convictions and the demands of her family. The fact that she refused to sit on her laurels and accept praise for her accomplishments, but rather be self-critical about her own mistakes and failings impressed me. Her influence on modern healthcare practices cannot be underestimated.

I recommend the book for anyone interested in learning more about the evolution of nursing and modern healthcare or to learn about the life of a remarkable, Victorian woman willing to stand up and be counted. Recommended for ages ten and older.

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