Reason you chose this book
This was the first nursing history book I read whilst working with women’s history collections and was my doorway into nursing history. I’ve also had the privilege to work alongside Anne, and her enthusiasm for the RCN Library and Archive collections encouraged me to apply for what has been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had!
Looking at nursing in the period between the Crimean War and the First World War Anne Summers fuses several historical perspectives in this ground breaking work. The book focuses on the rise of a female military nursing corps i.e. the development of the Queen Alexandra’s nurses. In doing so Anne brings together nursing history, medical history, military history, labour history and women’s history; the book also brought nursing history to a much wider audience. Unlike many of the nursing histories from this period which focus on Nightingale, this book looks beyond Nightingale to the much wider context of women including social class, education, pay and conditions. There are some amazing stories and details held within the book and it’s still stands up against the wonderful nursing histories written since 1988, many of which this book inspired.