Florence Nightingale on Wars and the War Office
Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 15
Volume 15 of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Wars and the War Office, picks up on the previous volume’s recounting of Nightingale’s famous work during the Crimean War and the comprehensive analysis she did on its high death rates. This volume moves on to the implementation of the recommendations that emerged from that research and to her work to reduce deaths in the next wars, beginning with the American Civil War.
Nightingale’s writings describe the creation of the Army Medical School, the vast improvements made in the statistical tracking of disease, and new measures for soldiers’ welfare. Her role in the formulation of the first Geneva Convention in 1864 is related, along with her concern that voluntary relief efforts through the Red Cross not make war “cheap. ”
Nightingale was decorated by both sides for her work in the Franco-Prussian War. While much of her work concerned the mundane sending out of supplies, we see also in her writing her emerging interest in militarism as the cause of war. Her opposition to the Afghan War (of her time) and her work to provide nursing for the Egyptian campaigns, the Zulu War, and the start of the Boer War are also included.
``[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 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 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 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