This refreshing narrative history of nursing marks an exception to standard, often dry academic descriptions of the nursing profession. It presents dramatic, highly readable illustrated stories of nursing's pioneering, often heroic leaders. Following an account of early nineteenth-century nursing practice during the Napoleonic Wars, the book goes on to highlight the life and work of Florence Nightingale who, in the 1850s, elevated nursing to a respected branch of medicine when she served on the Crimean War's battlefields. Also chronicled are the contributions to nursing by Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, and the poet Walt Whitman during the American Civil War. Surgical nursing first became important in the late nineteenth century, following discoveries by Robert Koch in Germany and Louis Pasteur in France of germ theory and infection control. Early twentieth-century accounts chronicle the origin of public health services, and include the story of Adelaide Nutting, the world's first professor of nursing at Columbia Teacher's College in New York. Here too is the story of Edith Cavell, who was executed for helping Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War I. Nursing's contributions during World War II, as well as in the Korean and Vietnam wars are also described in several vivid accounts. A concluding chapter explains how twenty-first-century nursing has expanded to cover many duties that were once the responsibility of junior doctors. The book's absorbing text is complemented with approximately 200 illustrations and photos.