American Nightingale by Bob Welch

American Nightingale

She was a Jewish girl growing up in World War I-torn Poland. At age seven, she and her family immigrated to America with dreams of a brighter future. But Frances Slanger could not lay her past to rest, and she vowed to help make the world a better place -- by joining the military and becoming a nurse. Frances, one of the 350,000 American women in uniform during World War II, was among the first nurses to arrive at Normandy beach in June 1944. Sh...

Details American Nightingale

TitleAmerican Nightingale
Release DateJun 1st, 2005
PublisherAtria Books
GenreBiography, History, Nonfiction, War, World War II, North American Hi..., American History, Literature, 20th Century, Military Fiction

Reviews American Nightingale

  • Barbara
    I have often stated that reading is an emotional experience. Upon entering the world of Frances Slanger, I feel totally moved and saddened. I shed many tears throughout this book, despite my knowledge of the outcome for this woman. Bob Welch, a journalist, has faithfully researched her life through her many personal papers, archives and interviews with family and colleagues. His vivid pictures of Frances and her life were conveyed so intensely th...
  • Stephanie
    Amazing story of a Jewish American nurse who served during WW2
  • Charlene
    It is rare I find a book that moves me so very thoroughly, but when this one was recommended to me by a WWII survivor, I knew it was going to be one of them. An absolutely true story about a woman extraordinary in her ordinariness, someone I couldn't help but fall in love with as I read, it's an engaging read. Definitely one that may take a few sittings.Dealing with the atrocities of WWII, in my humble opinion, was worth taking this book slowly. ...
  • Cindy
    Captivating in just a few pages...Ok, done, but Frances will be in my thoughts for a long time to come. My thoughts are jumbled, and random but here they are: Frances endured hardship all her life, she had very few moments of peace externally or internally...yet she perservered, and because of her tenacity, she saved and inspired many lives. She was like me a health care professional, and frustrated writer, wanting to do something noble, somethin...
  • Laura Edwards
    A wonderful book. Welch manages to capture the fields of battle in a realistic and interesting way. Even better, he crafts suspense despite the fact the reader knows the outcome. When Frances was working so hard and hoping to get into nursing school and then struggling to finish nursing school, I felt a real sense of anxiety for her. My only complaint. Welch mentions and describes numerous photos of Frances, but there are very few in the book. I ...
  • Graceann
    Frances Slanger is probably not well remembered today, as those who were most directly affected by her services and sacrifice are leaving us at a rate of more than 1,000 per day. She was an Army Nurse, the first American nurse to die in combat in the European Theatre of Operations. The day before Slanger's death, she wrote and mailed a letter, printed in Stars and Stripes, expressing the gratitude she felt to the soldiers. Many were moved at the ...
  • Christine Boyer
    This is one of those one-person-CAN-make a difference stories!! It's also a must read. Written by Bob Welch, who's a newspaper columnist in Oregon, it definitely has a journalist/reporter feel to the writing - and I thought it worked perfectly for the subject matter. I was in Normandy and Utah & Omaha beaches last summer, and could really picture poor Frances and her fellow nurses slogging through the water, up the beach, and immediately realizin...
  • Karen
    Bob Welch is a columnist for the The Register-Guard in Eugene, OR, and a reader suggested that he write about Frances Slanger, one of the first nurses to arrive at Normandy beach after the invasion in 1944. He took the reader's advice, did some research and wound up writing this book. Slanger was Jewish; born in Poland during WWI; emigrated to the States when she was seven. As a young woman, she was determined to become a nurse and did so against...
  • Andrea
    What struck me the most about reading the story of Frances Slanger is that I was reminded of the power of the individual. Frances was not a stand-out in any way, shape, or form, either growing up or in her nursing career. But she was diligent and caring. She's remembered for a letter she wrote to the Stars & Stripes in which she thoughtfully reflects the soldiers' appreciation for nurses right back to the soldiers. Her letter was so simple and he...
  • Vickie
    I love to read Bob Welch's column in the Eugene Register Guard, and that is why I picked this book up at our library. I learned so much about WWII. It is a wonderful true story about a nurse of Jewish descent who fought against all odds to serve in WWII. Mr. Welch does an excellent job of investigating and reporting how one seemingly insignificant young made a huge difference in the lives of soldiers - most of whom she didn't even know.
  • Charlie
    After reading this book how can you ever forget - The Story of Frances Slanger. Bob Welch does a fine job in bringing forward the story of an obscure Polish-American nurse that just wanted to help out as a NURSE during the war. A good fireside read.
  • Camilla Tilly
    From my blog:When I bought this book, I did so to get a female view of D-day and yet another witness account of that day, to my D-day library. I did not fully pay attention to what I was buying. I am glad that I discovered this book and let's say, I got more and more impressed with it, with every page I read. The author is a journalist at a small newspaper in Oregon, USA, and who would have guessed that a non-historian could produce such a book l...
  • Helen-Louise
    I read this book at the recommendation of a friend and fellow WWII buff who knows of my interest in women in the military and military nurses. I in turn highly recommend it to others, both for its military interest and as a biography of Frances Slanger, a woman with an unusual and far too short life. Jewish, born in Lodz, Poland to parents fortunate enough to immigrate to the United States in the 20's, she grew up in Boston. Despite much resistan...
  • Maureen Caupp
    An inspiring, heartbreaking true story of the life of Frances Slanger, a nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps who inspired through her actions in life and an article she wrote to the Stars & Stripes right before she was killed. Just one example of the hard uncomplaining work and sacrifice of the doctors and nurses who worked in field hospitals on the front line during World War II. Florence Slanger was a Jewish, Polish immigrant born in Poland righ...
  • Shane Fritz
    An extremely interesting story of a Polish immigrant child who grew up to be an American nurse who landed on one of the D-Day beaches so she could tend the wounded and dying. Researched [for three years] and written[very well] by a columnist/journalism professor of Eugene.
  • Sue
    It is important to remember history and the individuals who refuse to allow evil to dominate their purposes in life. Frances Slanger RN was such a person. I am honored to read her story.
  • Laura
    This is a heartbreaker of a book. It tells the story of Frances Slanger, who as a Jewish child immigrated to America from Poland following the atrocities and pogroms of World War I. Against the odds, and the expectations of society, Frances becomes a nurse. Again against the odds, she joins the U.S. Army in 1943 as part of the Forty-Fifth Field Hospital Second Platoon and finds herself landing at Utah Beach in Normandy on June 10, 1944. Bouncing ...
  • Whymsy Likes Books
    A purpose filled lifeA mesmerizing true story so engrossing and vivid that even knowing the end my heart still hurt to read those final chapters. This story is a fitting tribute to not only Frances Slanger and her sacrifice, but to all of those clinging to hope during that horrific time. Frances Slanger was fighter who believed in a God given purpose and actually did something about it. A humble woman who believed she had little to give, but gave...
  • Bethany
    Frances Slanger is one of my heroes. She was an American Army nurse who waded onto the beach at Normandy to treat the men who had fought there just a few days before. Though quiet and unassuming, she wrote a letter to the Stars and Stripes newspaper that spoke of the honor it was to serve the men in uniform. Unfortunately, she was killed by enemy fire the day after and she never knew of the effect her letter had on the men. Thousands of letters p...
  • Brianna Headley
    The book is pretty much soaked with my tears and/or leaking face fluids. Needless to say, it was very well-written and truly gut-wrenching. The book does jump between the past, the current, and the current-in-other-places, but it only took me a couple of chapters to get used to. If some people complain that it confused them for the whole time and ruined the book, they may be morons. It is amazing that the writer was able to get as much informatio...
  • John
    Bob Welch has done a great job researching the life of Frances Slanger, the first American nurse to die in the European Theater during WWII. By the end of the book you will have learned about her early years in Poland, emigration to the USA, time in nursing school, landing at Normandy with the troops, and time with the 45th Field Hospital following the war across France, Belgium, and into Germany. I felt it was an uplifting experience getting to ...
  • Mary
    This is another book about WWII. This one is about Army nurses who landed with the troops at Normandy. It is basically a biography of the first nusre to be killed in action in the European war.While I found it interesting, sometimes it seemed slow and repetitive. Bob Welch certainly did his research. He included lots of info about Frances Slanger and her experiences, considering that he didn't get to interview her.It's a pretty good book, especia...
  • James
    What a poignant book. Rarely does a book touch me to the core like this one has. Should be required reading in all schools to teach generations about the human spirit, regardless of race, religion, or any differences we may have. Nurses, corpsmen, and doctors all on the battle field receive far less accolades than they deserve, but we Veterans and Soldiers know and greatly appreciate these angels of mercy. Sad to think we're rapidly losing our WW...
  • Katie
    Loved this book. It was so well researched and so well written. I wasn't bored in the least and found out a lot of stuff that was, surprisingly, not mentioned in any of my history classes. When the story was written, a lot of people that knew the main character Frances were alive and gave interviews to the author so much of the story has a lot of credibility and truth. Way better than any history book.
  • Lynn
    This book took me several tries to give it a fair start. I was not thrilled by author's writing style. But it tells a powerful story and I highly recommend it. I came to love Frances. She was socially awkward and average in so many respects, but had such a pure heart and wanted to make a difference. And ultimately, she did. Loved it. Thanks Bethany for the recommend.
  • Emily
    While this was a terrifically clear and detailed description of life for an Army nurse during WWII, I really didn't enjoy the book. I thought it went on too long and that the nurse who was the subject didn't have enough of a story for a full length book. If you're interested in WWII history, this book would be great for you.
  • Kristine
    We read this for book club and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's well researched and written. After reading this book, I have a renewed admiration and appreciation for Frances and the many other brave nurses and doctors who risked their lives to save the lives of the soldiers who participated in D-Day and war in general.
  • Rebecca
    I loved this book for what it says about everyday heroes, and I think the world of the author, Bob Welch. I interviewed Bob, a reporter with the Eugene Register Guard, when I wrote a story about American Nightingale in the Corvallis Gazette-Times:
  • Sandra D
    This had the bones of a great story but the writing fell short. It was a bit too melodramatic for my taste, but still worth a read for its depiction of the hospital units that trailed the Allied push across France after D-Day.
  • Fishface
    Wonderful story about doing what you need to do, even if others don't get why. The many painful ironies in Frances Slanger's life and death will require you to keep the Kleenex close at hand as you read.