Monday, July 19, 2010

Florence Nightingale - Two Book Reviews

Rebecca's new hero is Florence Nightingale, so we have been reading (children's) books about her. These books are similar in facts, but VERY different in presentation.

The first book was Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Lamp, from the Young Reader's Christian Library. This book paints a very lovely picture of Miss Nightingale. In this book, Florence is portrayed as a humble Christian who wants to do nothing more than serve the God who made her. And, when she receives high honors for her work, she is embarrassed by the credit given her. Rebecca read this book first, and as a result, Florence Nightingale became her new hero. A Christian nurse who changes the world... what a great role model for my daughter.


 The other book we read was Florence Nightingale, by Lucy Lethbridge. This book contains some of the same information, but in a very different format. In this book, Florence is "defiant," in pursuing her nursing dreams. She is not portrayed as humble, but as a woman who knows her way in the world and is set to change the course of history. She is not content to be "just a wife and mother." And, when pressed by her mother she says "I only want to be free" (and the implication is that she will be free from the role of wife/mother that is expected of her). The point of this book seems to be to cause young ladies to expect and want more from their lives than motherhood, and that saddens me.
I wish I had not read this book, and I do not recommend it for young girls.

BUT, who do we believe?

The only way we can really know the truth is through first-hand sources, books/diaries written by Nightingale herself and other books/articles written at that time about her (acknowledging that what she writes about herself is probably more accurate than what others write about her). So, I am on a hunt for first hand sources for the true history of Florence Nightingale. Is she the feminist that wikipedia and the Lethbridge book make her out to be? Or, is she a humble servant of God?


A family being transformed said...

I found this website quit interesting!

Thanks for taking the time as a mother to really search the truth out with your children. A biblical worldview is so crucial as we train up our children. Blessings and wisdom.

Love from the North,

Kimberly said...

Well, I'll tell you, that even Christian publishers are re-writing history books these days, so finding the truth about the past is going to become more and more difficult. Good luck in your search.

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Every time I tried the link I was re-routed.
Did anyone else have this happen?

I know, it is sad. I had originally written a whole rant about historical revisionists... but I deleted it.