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Florence Nightingale
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Florence Nightingale

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Draws on research by army historians to describe the cover-up of disastrous events in the Crimea, and to seperate Nightingale's real achievments from her mythical ones.
Published (first published 1951)
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I don't usually write reviews because I feel I can never do the book justice. But for this one I'm going to try.
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. Incredibly well-written, well organized, and obviously well researched.
I love reading biographies but I've often found the biographer tends to present the subject of the book as not human ( flawed; grey). When it's about someone considered "good" the person is almost portrayed as an angel or a saint; when it's someone "bad", they're always e
Rachel Terry
I knew very little about Florence Nightingale before reading this book. I knew she was very important to nursing as a profession, that she had something to do with the Crimean War, and that she was a national heroine. I could now fill pages about what I didn't know about Florence Nightingale (don't worry; I won't).

I didn't know it was possible for someone to be so insanely driven. As I was reading, I would think, "I want to work harder! I want to make a difference in the world!" And then as I co
D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket)
One of the illustrations in this biography is of Florence Nightingale in her youth, next to her pet owl Athena. You see a sketch of an absolutely striking woman possessed of a round, elfin face and knowing eyes. This biography details how that woman both created the idea of the modern nurse and soldier, and broke herself to pieces in doing so.

Florence Nightingale was born to a high society couple who were as different as night and day. The wife was a warm socialite, while the husband a retiring,
Ann Goddard
There must be dozens if not hundreds of books written about this woman who is credited with establishing modern nursing, yet it is this one (which I read a dozen years ago) that sticks with me. The author, born 1896, herself a Brit of noble birth and daughter of a British officer and descendant of a leader of the Irish Rebellion (one of them), relates to Nightingale's times and station in life like no modern author could. The details of Nightingale's personal life gave me more appreciation for h ...more
Paula Dembeck
This is a well researched and well written biography of the woman considered to be the founder of modern nursing.
Nightingale was born into a wealthy British family, but never quite fit the mold of a Victorian Lady. She was well educated but early on refused marriage because she felt she had a calling to serve others. Like Joan of Arc, she had a sense God intended her to do something special in her life and she was bound and determined to complete that mission.
Her family were horrified when she
Jul 11, 2007 Tiffany rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Nurses!
Never really had an idea about Flo until I read this book, which was recommended to me by an advisor. I am so impressed with the work this woman did, and who she became. Her story inspired me to work even harder than I already was (ahhh nursing school!). I am not going to lie, there are a lot of boring, ultimately inconsequential information; but in a way, it helps the reader realize the magnitude of work this woman did. Strongly recommended to all nurses.
If you are doing research on this amazing woman, this is a great book. It is well-researched, well-documented, and thorough. However if, like me, you are just interested in learning a little more about Florence Nightingale's life, this book might be overkill.

I found the first half fascinating - it tells the story of Florence Nightingale's childhood through her experiences in the Crimean War. Then, the book gets repetitive. The thing that made it tedious for me was that the rest of her life seeme
Christopher Saunders
Meticulously researched biography of the famed nurse and humanitarian. Recent historians have leveled much criticism at Florence Nightingale, from her resistance to germ theory and unpleasant personality, which even Woodham-Smith's account doesn't entirely avoid. What emerges is a portrait of a deeply troubled woman possessed of a single-minded nature. Unquestionably, her achievements in the Crimea and afterwards, raising standards of nursing and medical treatment in general, drawing attention t ...more
Sam Schulman
One of the most thrilling biographies ever, because its subject is far more thrilling than you could ever imagine. Unbelievable energy, drive, imagination, she ought to be a feminist icon, but in fact she is one of the great heroic figures of modern times. Working around the clock, pestering generals and prime ministers, working her poor assistant Arthur Hugh Clough (the poet) into his grave, inventing - besides the profession of nursing - the use of tables to present statistics, systems of acco ...more
Amy A
The book was well-written and thoroughly researched, but a lot of days, I had to will myself to pick the book up and continue reading. Much of the book was tedious for me, and frustrating, but I suppose the work was often tedious and frustrating for Miss Nightingale, too. Also, I have no patience for turn of the century views on what was important for women- dancing, looking pretty, hosting parties. Actually, I suppose that's not so bad, but it is so frustrating when women who found those things ...more
Miss Nightingale was an extraordinary person who lived an extraordinary life. This book was very well researched - almost too much so, because by about halfway through all the minute details became kind of a slog to get through. If you're doing a paper on her, this would be a great reference and includes an index - so it's proably worth 4 stars there. As an entertaining biography, it could've used a little editing. Also I'm guessing that's the most appearances of the word 'sanitary' in any book ...more
May Rosebud
If you don't know anything at all about Florence Nightingale by the time you finish this book you will feel her an old friend and mentor. I have never read an book about anyone with so much detail. The book also gives you a wonderful list of all of the sources the author used. You can find the books that Florence herself wrote on the Gutenberg book site. I think they are a must read for anyone in the medical field. Without this book I would have never known what to look for.
Fiona Meikle
Thouroughly enjoying reading about Florence Nightingale at the moment. The amazing thing for me is finding out she was so muhc more than the "lady with the lamp", and was actually much more of a pioneering reformist in goverment polocies. Written with extreme accessibility, it has been a real page turner for me!
This was a totally different spin from the biography I read last year. This was a woman of vast complication in both her personal and professional career. All I could think about was "[post tramatic syndrome" as I read of her mental struggles to overcome the war.
I loved this book. You will be blown away by this amazing lady. All she had to go through to accomplish what she did. The opposition of her family, not to mention the conventions of the time. It's mind boggling.
Florence Nightingale was a remarkable person. I liked this book, but it may not be for everyone. It is one of those dry, boring English books written 60 years ago, but I like that kind of stuff!
I learned far more about her than I thought I would. She was a sort of "Mother Teresa" of her day. She gave up great riches to serve the wounded and sick and to advance the field of nursing.
Titanic Buff
Cecil Woodham-Smith���s writing is impeccable. She doesn���t attempt to sugar coat the facts, but presents them as they are, all the while spinning an entertaining tale.
One of the first biographies I ever read. Well written. I was amazed by this tiny woman who affected to be an invalid but wrought so much change.
Joanna Pickford
This is an amazing story and puts paid to all the myths about the nice sweet lady with the lantern.
A woman with a passion to remove oppression and empower through health.
Well-told and well-researched biography of this fascinating woman.
Denise Friedman
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