Florence Nightingale: new biography from Hugh Small

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is best known as a reformer of hospital nursing during and after the Crimean War.  Hugh Small’s Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel (published by Constable in 1998) first revealed the true story of the disaster in her wartime hospital and why it caused her to change course and campaign for wider public health reform. Medical historian James Le Fanu, in a Daily Telegraph review, called it ‘a masterly piece of historical detective work’.

Hugh Small’s new biography of Nightingale, published in August 2017 by the Robinson imprint of Little, Brown Book Group, adds the dramatic sequel to her journey from tragedy to triumph. It reveals that Nightingale created the public health legislation of 1875 which historians now agree caused the astonishing increase in national life expectancy over the period 1874-1935, before medicine could make any contribution. This achievement is unrelated to the hospital reforms with which Nightingale is usually associated. It establishes her reputation as one of the most important social reformers in modern history, whether male or female, elected or unelected.

See Florence Nightingale and her Real Legacy: a Public Health Revolution on Amazon.

4 comments to Florence Nightingale: new biography from Hugh Small

  • Thought you might be interested in this fairly early stereo view of Scutari hospital – which is difficult to date precisely, but was probably still being produced until the mid to late 1860s.

    I hasten to add that I am not the seller and have no vested interest in this sale (which is hardly high end anyway!). I was simply impressed by your researches into the battlefield sites etc. and thought this might be relevant.



  • Thanks
    The eBay image referred to is item 362099664684
    It’s a pity it’s so distant but it seems to date from before the shipping terminal was built on the foreshore

  • Brian

    Old Flo’s “Real Legacy” was the spread of syphilis. She was sleeping with the Soldiers and subsequently died of the disease

  • This ‘syphilis’ anecdote, unsupported by any evidence and incompatible with all medical knowledge, circulates widely in North America. It was invented by a bishop at a Convention of the American Episcopal Church in 2000 who was opposing a resolution to add Nightingale to that Church’s list of ‘lesser saints’. (Nightingale was a religious heretic who maintained that Jesus Christ was not divine.) Her biographer Lynn McDonald traced the syphilis story to its roots in “Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life & Family (The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 1, p. 465).

    Everything else that is widely ‘known’ about Florence Nightingale is also wrong. That’s what compelled me to write my biography.
    Thanks for your comment

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