- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atria Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743477588
- ISBN-13: 978-0743477581
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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American Nightingale: The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy 1st Edition
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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 Slangers 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 Welchs 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 Slangers experiences before she entered the army, and the authors conceit of switching back and forth between the two time periods is needlessly confusing. Nonetheless, Slangers 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 womens history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
An outstanding book.
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.
co-author of the Every Man's Battle series
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent example of a woman who overcomes her background and serves as an inspiration. Doesn't take great talent or brilliance either.Published 2 months ago by Steve
Bob Welch has done it again! What a great story about the first nurse killed in Europe in 1944. The companion book, A Pebble In The Water, is fascinating too--it's the story... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mary Emma parks
Reminding us that each of us chooses how we live this life, for goodness or evil. A tribute to our parents who fought in WWII.Published 12 months ago by Wendy M. Jones
Ever hear of women Army Officers being in the Normandy invasion of WW II? Neither had I until I read this wonderful bio of a young ANC nurse, how she got to the battlefield, how... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Marie Briscoe