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American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy Paperback – Bargain Price, June 1, 2005


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American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy + And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II + We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743477596
  • ASIN: B003H4RCRA
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,206,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former newspaper columnist Welch (The Things That Matter Most) presents a detailed biography of a World War II army nurse for whom death and fame came nearly simultaneously. Frances Slanger was a shy, bookish woman who worked tirelessly to care for wounded soldiers. In June 1944, she was one of the first nurses to wade ashore on Normandy beach. One night, she wrote a letter in praise of her American G.I. charges, which was published in the military newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. Hundreds of soldiers wrote to thank her for the letter, not knowing that she had been killed by enemy fire within hours of posting it. Welch carefully traces the major events of Slanger’s life: from her childhood in World War I Poland, where she suffered because she was Jewish, to her coming of age in Boston, where she decided, against her parents’ wishes, to become a nurse so she could serve her adopted country and help stop the spread of Nazism in Europe. Thanks to her famous letter, Slanger received many posthumous honors, including having a warship named for her, but Welch’s biography is the first extended account of her life. The book is at its best when describing the conditions of the army field hospital where Slanger worked. It is less assured when recounting Slanger’s experiences before she entered the army, and the author’s conceit of switching back and forth between the two time periods is needlessly confusing. Nonetheless, Slanger’s life offers a stirring story of intense personal devotion and, despite its somewhat pedestrian prose, this book should be appreciated by WWII buffs, as well as those interested in women’s history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This is an account of the first American army nurse to die on the Normandy front. A few days before she was killed, she had written a letter to the Stars and Stripes, a tribute to the soldiers she had helped to live--and die. It began, "They are brought in bloody, dirty, with the earth, mud, and grime, and most of them so tired. Somebody's brother, somebody's father, and somebody's son." The day after it was printed, she died when the Germans shelled the Forty-Fifth Field Hospital Unit. She never knew that she had stirred the hearts of thousands of soldiers and their families. Welch searched for the woman who had written that letter, helped by one of the few surviving nurses of the unit. In writing her story, he has also given us a picture of the Jewish neighborhoods of Boston in the 1920s and 1930s, nursing school and hospital work in the 1930s, and the training and responsibilities of army nurses at the front. This is not only a heartwarming story for all ages, but it is also especially recommended for young people. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Bob Welch is an award-winning columnist, speaker and author whose 15 books are distinguished by heart, humor and hope. As head of Pebble in the Water Inspiration, Welch has keynoted conferences across America. "Forget the hyperbole," said Julie Zander, organizer of the Association of Personal Historians conference in Portland. "Our 261 participants scored Welch a 4.81 on a 5.0-scale."

A storyteller by nature, Welch mines much of his speaking fodder from his books and the nearly 2,000 columns he's written for The Register-Guard, Oregon's second-largest newspaper. He has twice won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists's highest award for writing. In addition, he has won dozens of other journalism awards, including the 2010 and 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association's "Best Writing" awards. He's also the winner of the Seattle Times C.B. Blethen Award for Distinguished Feature Writing.

Three new Welch books will hit the shelves in late 2012: "Fifty-Two Little Lessons from It's a Wonderful Life" (Nashville: Thomas Nelson); "Resolve: From WWII Bataan, the Story of a Soldier, a Flag, and a Promise Kept." (New York: Penguin's Berkley Books); and "Cascade Summer: My Adventure on Oregon's Pacific Crest Trail." (Eugene: AO Creative).

A previous book about a heroic World War II nurse, "American Nightingale" (Atria Books, 2004), was featured on ABC's "Good Morning America" and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

Articles of Welch's have been published in more than a dozen books, including seven in the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.

In addition, he has had articles published in such magazines a s"Los Angeles Times," "Reader's Digest," "Sports Illustrated" and "Runner's World."

In 2005, Welch founded the Beachside Writers Workshop in the Oregon coast town of Yachats. Since then, nearly 1,000 students have attended the workshops.

He and his wife, Sally, live in Eugene.

Customer Reviews

It is an inspiring story!
Marea Stone
For me, this is one of those "Couldn't Put It Down" reads!
Patricia
Exceptional story, exceptionally well told.
Book Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cain on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Like British Army Nurse Florence Nightingale before her, and American Army Nurse Sharon Ann Lane (KIA, 312th Evac., Chu Lai, 1969, Vietnam) after her, Frances Slanger was a true heroine.
Bob Welch struck gold when a former Nursing comrade of Slanger's read one of his articles and got in touch. Previously, details about Frances Slanger had been slightly scant and it had been reported that she had been killed by an Enemy sniper. Welch gets it right in indicating that she had actually been killed during an artillery barrage.
Even by Day 3, the slowly expanding Normandy beach heads were a dangerous place to be. Despite overwhelming Allied airpower, involving thousands of combat sorties per day, the Germans were still putting up determined resistance on the ground.
Even the act of wading ashore was not without its dangers, especially given that Frances Slanger was barely five feet tall. She was one of only four nurses to land at Normandy while it was still an intensely active combat zone. Yet in spite of the mines, the snipers, the artillery exchanges and the odd air attack, Slanger and her courageous sisters pitched in immediately to help care for the endless influx of wounded.
A few months later, she became the first Army Nurse KIA of the post-Overlord campaign.
While ever America can still produce women like Frances Slanger and Sharon Ann Lane, and men like the brave young warriors that they gave their own young lives to support, the enemies of Freedom will never win.
Never.
An outstanding book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a nurse that has retired from that field, I read this book and was touched beyond words about the person Frances Slanger and the nurse and heroine Frances Slanger. I am an avid reader and love to read about WWII era; this book opened a new area of history that hasnt been adequately covered. It is well written and I highly recommend!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Yorkey on July 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Just as World War II army nurse Frances Slanger compared human life to a fire-that is, if there is a spark of flame left in the embers, the fire can be nursed back to health-Bob Welch has blown on the embers of her touching and inspirational story to bring it back to life sixty years after her death.
What a story of sacrifice, honor, and courage in the midst of horrific battlefield conditions! Frances Slanger, who, in some ways, felt she was destined to help her adopted country throw off the yoke of Nazi domination in the European war theatre, was an uncommon woman of valor who deserves our highest accolades. Her heroic sacrifice-she was the first woman killed in the line of duty following the D-Day invasion-was largely forgotten following the fall of Berlin. But thanks to Bob Welch, who poured thousands of dollars of his own money and three years into researching this thoughtful, well-written book, we have Frances Langer's legacy available at our fingertips.
I highly recommend American Nightingale, the story of a Jewish heroine that time nearly forgot.
Mike Yorkey
co-author of the Every Man's Battle series
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Neal Bellet on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading American Nightingale. What a FANTASTIC book. The story of Frances Slanger is truly inspirational and the greatest testament to this inspiration, and to her heroism came from the very men that she cared for while in Europe. I am an avid reader of WWII books and I rank this up there as one of the best that I've ever read. Great job!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Faris Cassell on June 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Award-winning journalist and author Welch has rediscovered World War II heroine, Frances Slanger, a Jewish Polish immigrant whose story has never been fully told. Slanger overcame poverty and discrimination to become a nurse, then courageously and selflessly served her adopted country in an Army medical unit. Welch takes us with Slanger's unit from its landing with D-Day invasion forces on the Normandy beaches Normandy, across France just behind the front lines to the borders of Germany as the team provides medical care to thousands of wounded soldiers. On the night before her unit was attacked, Slanger wrote a letter to the military newspaper "Stars and Stripe", affirming her dedication to helping the wounded, expressing her admiration for the American soldier and downplaying her own contribution. The letter inspired a country hungry for signs of human goodness and triggered an outpouring of emotion at the news of her death. will bring tears to your eyes. It reminds us the true meaning of courage at a time when, again, inspiration is sorely needed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "authorlink" on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
AMERICAN NIGHTINGALE is the breathtaking tale of an obscure Army nurse named Frances Slanger, the first woman soldier to die in World War II. Were it not for its author Bob Welch, and discerning editor Brenda Copeland at Atria, this poginant story may have succumbed to obscurity. It is the tale of a young woman who was a nobody, the daughter of a Jewish fruit peddler. Yet, in her simple duties she exemplified the American spirit. Here is a book that truly does live in one's memory long after being read. The work will hold the reader in its grip from rain-drenched beginnings in a field hospital tent on Normandy Beach, to the last page, as a ship named for the book's heroine moves out to sea--leaving in its gentle wake a reminder that no matter what small lives we may live, each of us can make a difference. Bravo Bob Welch from an avid reader and the editor-in-chief of Authorlink.com.
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