Florence Nightingale is famous as the “lady with the lamp” in the Crimean War, 1854—56. There is a massive amount of literature on this work, but, as editor Lynn McDonald shows, it is often erroneous, and films and press reporting on it have been even less accurate. The Crimean War reports on Nightingale’s correspondence from the war hospitals and on the staggering amount of work she did post-war to ensure that the appalling death rate from disease (higher than that from bullets) did not recur.
This volume contains much on Nightingale’s efforts to achieve real reforms. Her well-known, and relatively “sanitized”, evidence to the royal commission on the war is compared with her confidential, much franker, and very thorough Notes on the Health of the British Army, where the full horrors of disease and neglect are laid out, with the names of those responsible.
``[I]t is clear that this is an academic project of the highest importance and integrity. It will have an impact on the work of scholars far beyond the immediate field of health history. Nightingale's interests were wide-ranging and her correspondence included some of the leading thinkers of her day. ...The editing of these volumes is exemplary. Every reference has been followed up, including the identification of minor dramatis personae. Important personalities are accorded short biographies. On every page there are biblical allusions, which are faithfully identified. Each thematic section has an introductory essay and these are amplified by a full outline of Nightingale's life and thought in volume 1. This project makes a major contribution to scholarship which will be of permanent value. ''- Helen Mathers, University of Sheffield, Ecclesiastical History
``The Nightingale project ranks with both the Gladstone diaries and the Disraeli letters as a major undertaking in the field of Victorian-era scholarship, and therefore is of surpassing value to historians of the period, as well as to general readers. ''- C. Brad Faught, Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 81 (1), March 2012
``The Collected Works will allow us to see for the first time the full complexity of this extraordinary and multifacted woman. It will be a tool of enormous value not only to Nightgale scholars and biographers, but also to historians of a wide variety of aspects of Victorian society: war, the army, public health nursing, religion, India, women's issues and so on. ''- Mark Bostridge, Times Literary Supplement, January 10, 2003
``The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale is an extremely ambitious project that is a great service to scholarship. Every general academic library should own the complete set. It pulls together material that has been hitherto diffused across more than 150 collections, some of them private ones, in places ranging from Germany to India and Japan, as well as numerous English-speaking countries. ''- Timothy Larsen, Books and Culture, November/December 2008
``The details and explications of her views. ..are presented in carefully annotated and insightful editorial discussions. ...[These volumes] provide a more complete understanding of this complex woman, extending our appreciation of her much beyond the `The Lady with the Lamp' legend. ... The product of rigorous scholarship, of meticulous historical research--and a labour of love. ''- Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, Volume 21/1, 2004