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. She and the other nurses of the 45th Field Hospital would soon experience the hardships of combat from a storm-whipped tent amid the anguish of wounded men and the thud of artillery shells. Months later, a letter that Frances wrote to the Stars and Stripes newspaper won her heartfelt praise from war-weary GIs touched by her tribute to them. But she never got to read the scores of soldiers' letters that poured in. She was killed by German troops the very next day. American Nightingale is the unforgettable, first-ever full-length account of the woman whose brave life stands as a testament to the American spirit.

American Nightingale Details

TitleAmerican Nightingale
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 1st, 2005
PublisherAtria Books
ISBN-139780743477598
Rating
GenreBiography, History, Nonfiction, War, World War II, Military Fiction, Autobiography, North American Hi..., American History

American Nightingale Review

  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    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 that I sensed her emotional climate throughout. This 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 that I sensed her emotional climate throughout. This biography is truly heartrending.Although obviously Frances Slanger's life story differs radically from mine, I can view many similarities which have helped me gain an understanding of her and to comprehend this book's profound effect on me.Frances was born,Freidel Schlanger in 1913 in Lodz, Poland, a city with the second largest Jewish population in Poland. They were victims of violence, bigotry and numbing poverty. Frances' life was bracketed by two wars. The family survived the hardships, hunger and devastation of WW I. In 1920 they immigrated to Boston, where they changed their names and set out to start a new life, where they discovered that the streets were not "paved with gold". Nevertheless, despite poverty, they lived a freer life.Frances was a solitary, sober, determined young woman. She read avidly and enjoyed writing, filling journals with her thoughts, activities and many quotations which had inspired her. She wrote numerous stories and essays with mixed results, but most of her jottings survived. In addition to her tendency to remain as a loner, she was barely 5'1" and slightly overweight. Frances was unwavering in her desire to become a nurse from her early years. Despite this dream, it was nearly impossible for Jewish women to gain admission to most of the schools of nursing due to the insidious practise of quota systems and discrimination. (My own brother failed acceptance to medical school because of this.) Another common reaction among her own people was, "Jewish girls don't become nurses". (A reaction I received when I announced my own intention.) Frances persisted and was accepted by the Boston City Hospital- just a few blocks from her home. After successfully graduating nursing school and working at her profession for several years, WW II broke out. Frances knew this is where she belonged and became a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. The horrors and the hardships for her, her colleagues and the soldiers were expressively portrayed. Wartorn France and Belgium were suffering mightily. She continued functioning through battles, mired in mud and with little sleep. All along she continued to find time to write. As one continues to read it is quite simple to know and admire this special woman. Welch has completed his task well.
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  • Charlene
    January 1, 1970
    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. Putting it down occasionally to chew over what I'd 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. Putting it down occasionally to chew over what I'd read, internalizing it as best I can, I nevertheless read the last portion of it very quickly, and largely through tears.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    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, something worthwhile, but she did not realize her life was 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, something worthwhile, but she did not realize her life was actually just that...noble, courageous, and lastly sacrificing. This book also shames me for the complaints and whines in my everyday life...kinda kicking me in the butt. I am fortunate to live in America, and I should do more for this country and its people, but what? I'll figure it out so that Frances won't be forgotten, and her life though short here will not a distant memory for just those who knew her, but a beacon for us all.
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  • Laura Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    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 wish there had been more. A beautiful tribute to a 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 wish there had been more. A beautiful tribute to a true American hero. Nurses are a special breed of person, military nurses high amongst the best.
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  • Graceann
    January 1, 1970
    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 time, and more were shocked by her death when they 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 time, and more were shocked by her death when they heard of it. Frances Slanger was one face among many who served and suffered. She was an imperfect person, just as every person is, but a thoughtful one. A particularly moving story in the book concerns one of her fellow officers, his pain over a difficult case, and a fresh egg. She wanted to be a writer and was "always scribbling," as those who were trained and served with her noted. Her poetry was heartfelt but generally awful, it must be said, but her prose, what can be found of it, carries with it all the internal struggle that she clearly carried as a woman fighting the expectations of her family back home and the calling she felt to serve. An added and no-less-important layer to the story is the anti-Semitism she faced and the fact that she was serving in a theatre of operations where her family members were being annihiliated (only one of her relatives still living in Europe at the time of WWII survived the Holocaust). All of that struggle, all of that pain, all of that determination comes through in that final letter. In plain, simple, exquisite language, she takes eight paragraphs to describe what the life of a nurse is like, and why the life of a GI is so much harder. She, in essence, says "thank you." Bob Welch uses the opportunity of this book to tell us how she got to this point, where every step was a battle of its own, and to tell us what was going on at various points in other parts of Europe. The layout of the story and how it all makes a difference is skillful writing on Mr. Welch's part. He was also able to interview many of the people who knew and served with Frances Slanger (some of them only just in time), and his research is impeccable. Don't skip the notes at the end explaining how he came to find some of his information.American Nightingale boils down to one simple question that I will ask myself often. It asks us to consider what we did today that will leave this world a better place. As the quote found in Frances Slanger's "chapbook" reminds us, every pebble leaves a ripple. It was an honor to learn about the ripple left by Frances Slanger.
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  • Christine Boyer
    January 1, 1970
    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 realizing that war IS hell. I cried several times. Mr. 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 realizing that war IS hell. I cried several times. Mr. Welch includes a wonderful afterword and epilogue to let you know what became of the folks Frances was working with, as well as her parents, sister, and nephews. Sadly, when he wrote this book, many of those people had already passed away, and some were interviewed, but died before Welch finished the book. We're losing our members of that"Greatest Generation" every day. Which makes it even more important to tell these stories - so we don't forget the quiet dignity and unbelievable humanity that they exhibited in the face of such atrocities.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    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 all odds and against the wishes of her family and 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 all odds and against the wishes of her family and the nursing hospital. Then she decided to join the US Army -- another hurdle, but she was a very determined young woman. Welch became fascinated by her story and has written a book that is well worth reading. Her life was short but her impact on the lives of those around her was large. Welch has since met with people who served with Slanger and has gotten to know members of her family. The book gives a new perspective on a slice of time during WWII.Re-read for book group.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    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 heartfelt, and struck the hearts of many who rea 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 heartfelt, and struck the hearts of many who read it. Talk about a powerful idea. Frances died within 24 hours after mailing the letter (shrapnel). It was published post-humously and served as a battle cry and a reminder of "why we fight." Really remarkable when you think about it.
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  • Vickie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Charlie
    January 1, 1970
    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
    January 1, 1970
    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 like this? I am impressed. This book is not just th 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 like this? I am impressed. This book is not just the story of Frances Slanger but also about Lodz, Poland and about the 6 million Jews that were exterminated in camps. And it is about Nazi madness. But first and foremost, it is a story about an ugly girl, from a very poor background that succeeded against all odds and who came to do something worthwhile in her short life!Usually I get irritated when a book jumps back and forth in history but it worked for this book in more ways than one and I hope I can explain why. The book jumps from 10 June and Frances coming ashore on Utah beach with 17 other nurses to work in the 45th Field Hospital. The reader gets to follow her and her fellow nurses, doctors, enlisted men up the beach, setting up hospital, receving patients and then moving on because Germans were coming their way... But this is not what makes this book so great. What makes this book so good, is that Frances was no ordinary young woman. Her pre-war story is woven in with the Normandy landing and the hospital's continuing journey through France and then Belgium.Frances wasn't Frances at all but was Freidel Yachet Schlanger, born 13 August 1913, in Lodz, Poland. Her father, Dawid, having entered USA on the 22 May that same year. She had an older sister, Chaja and together, they waited with their mother Regina, for the father to earn the money for their US passage. Her parents were of course Jewish, and they had grown up with Cossack pogroms and when WWI broke out, the three females, were stuck in Poland for that "duration". They starved with the rest and suffered under both Russian and German occupation. Not until 1920 could they rejoin Dawid that had changed his name to David Slanger. And coming to Ellis Island, Freidel was almost sent back to Poland again, since she had developed a severe eye infection during the journey across the ocean.The family traded one kind of poverty for another. Someone said the streets were paved with gold, like "Fievel" sings in the cartoon film ("There are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese"), but meaning that it was paved with freedom. Freedom to make something of yourself. David never got anywhere though. He remained a fruit peddler till he had a stroke in the 1930s. And they met with bad anti-semitism in Boston's Irish quarters as well as in fancier parts than what they themselves lived in. It came as a shock to me, to read about this! What was sad to read about, was how Regina, who became Eva in America, did not do anything to help contribute to the family income. And how the older daughter Chaja, that became Sarah, called Sally, was allowed to grow up a vain girl, only caring about lipstick and finding a husband. She married as soon as she could an started having the three sons she would end up having.Freidel who was re-named Frances, was of another kind. She tried her hardest to make something of herself, without any encouragement from home. T. said that it sounded like she and I very much had the same experiences in that respect. And I agree. I know exactly what it is like when your mother doesn't want you to study but only cares about you growing up quickly so you can go out and get a job and help support. I never did. I went against my mother. But Frances didn't. She tried to do both. From an early age, she wanted to be a writer, just like myself. But she was discouraged at home. Teased by all children for reading, writing and seeking solitude, just like I was. Poor Frances also had to fight her teachers on top of everything else. They were not impressed with her immigrant English writings. She struggled on though, writing, helping her father on his fruit peddling routes and acting as go between since her parents never learned anything but Yiddish. It took her forever to graduate from high school since she had to help more and more with her father's job. And then he had a stroke that prevented him from working. She needed to work in a factory instead of fulfilling her other dream, of becoming a nurse. Finally she had to go behind her parents' backs and her culture, religion and everything, to fulfill that dream. Nursing was considered a "Christian Calling. For pork eaters." The family lost their income, and noone suggested Eva or Sally taking up a job instead, did they??? But Frances got her nursing degree against all odds. She even signed up for joining the army in November 1941, right before Pearl Harbor. Only problem was that her father had another stroke and she could not make herself go. This poor girl was always drawn between her parents and what she felt was the right thing to do. The latter always won the battle, but after a lot of heart ache. In 1943, she did join once and for all, and did not back out.She trained in four different camps and then sailed for England, saying goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, for good it turned out. On the 10 June 1944, she set foot in Normandy and was met by dead bodies and wounds noone had been able to prepare the nurses and doctors for in America! What makes this book three times as interesting is that while Bob Welch tells her story, he tells her fellow Jews' story as well. When something happens in Frances life, he documents what Hitler is up to in Europe. What happens in her Lodz ghetto, to her extended family. And on the day that she lands in Normandy, he describes what happens in the little village of Oradour-sur-Glane, far away from Normandy. The 10 June 1944, the village that had been technically German since 1940, saw German soldiers for the first time! A company of "the Reich", comes in and kills all the children, women and men they can find. For reasons unknown even today! An entire village killed in hours!Only four nurses of the 18 that came ashore that day, were alive when the book was written. The 45th Field Hospital never have had a re-union. And still, Bob Welch was able to puzzle together what happened to the company for the next four months. Frances was an oddity in the company. She did not fit in. Not when it came to telling jokes, doing social things. But when it came to nursing, THEN she was noticed by everyone. She was 200% devoted to her job. She loved and cared for every soldier and patient that came her way. She would not put up with fellow nurses and doctors that did not feel the same way. And she found a kindred spirit, in a gigantic doctor of 250 pounds, called "Tiny" Schwarz. Another Jew from Boston who had had to fight hard to be there as well. They were both perfectionist and totally devoted to their calling.What put Frances on the map? What made Bob Welch write about her? This woman stand out because of everything she had had to go through up to that point. But also her personality being so different. But what put Frances on the map, was a letter she wrote from Belgium, during a stormy night the 20th October 1944. She wrote to Stars & Stripes, the soldier newspaper during WWII, that was distributed to all services around the world. And they used it for their editorial. Her letter touched the heart strings of all soldiers! She said that they all praised the nurses, but she wanted to praise the soldiers. How they didn't complain as patients but wanted to know how their best friend was doing. How they tried a cheerful flirtatious hello, no matter how badly wounded they were. Soldiers loved her letter. And they wrote thousands of letters to her via the newspaper. Only, on the next night, the 21st, something unexpected happened to Frances. They were in a place that was considered so safe, that no foxholes had been dug for the company to dive in to, in case of artillery shelling. That night, the Germans started to shell the hospital camp, that they knew fully well, was located there. A shell hit the tent that Frances was sharing with three other nurses. Shrapnel hit her in her abdomen and all the way in to her spine. All her collegues, that rushed to her side, knew that she could not survive, but her friend "Tiny" still pulled on his surgical gloves to do his best. Instead he could only hold her in his arms while she whispered "oh...my...poor...mother" and then died. Typically, all the enlisted men regretted being mean to her and liking her so little. Noone knew at that point about her letter. It was published even though she had died one day after writing it, and then they had to publish two weeks later, that the author of the famous letter, had been killed in action. The first nurse to die in the ETO.She was not miss popular at all, but everyone looked upon her as an inspiration and as a heroine. But she really has been forgotten! Thousands wrote to the Stars & Stripes again after her death. She was awarded a medal. She was buried in Belgium but in 1947, when her mother was asked if she wanted to have her come home, her mother decided to bring her to Boston. So with lots of other dead soldiers, her body was taken back to the US. Her casket was made to stand on parade on a Belgian square the last night, to remind people, before all the caskets left on a ship. The public in the US was reminded of her deeds, when her casket arrived home, and a square in Boston was named after her. A hospital ship was also named after her, at the end of the war. But all of it, has been forgotten today.I am not sure, why this book was so very special. If it was the fact that a Jewish woman went against tradition and decided to do something so patriotic as going out in a war, that in part was fought against her people or race, if it is not wrong to call it that. Or if it was because, as the author said, she always was "that other person in the photo". In a way, she was a nobody. She wasn't pretty. She wasn't particularly smart. She wasn't really amusing or funny. She was an ordinary, grey mouse in many people's eyes. And yet, she had a hidden part of herself, that few took the chance to get to know. Maybe I loved the book so much because I recognised myself in her. I know what it is to be an outsider. Someone that people find boring. A grey mouse that stay in the background. But when I have decided to do something, I do it 200% and as perfect as I can. And I do get upset when people around me do not do their part in the same manner, with the same devotion. And THAT gives you enemies! In that one letter, she poured out her innermost feelings, and it touched everyone. May you rest in peace Freidel Yachet Schlanger! Now when I know about you, I WILL NOT FORGET YOU!
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  • Helen-Louise
    January 1, 1970
    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 resistance from parents ["Jewish girls aren't nurses!"] an 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 resistance from parents ["Jewish girls aren't nurses!"] and even teachers ["You haven't studied the right things,"] she managed to get accepted to Boston City hospital School of Nursing, and to graduate, despite having never had a science or math course in her life. She did love to read, and to write poetry, and I am sure that background helped her. She graduated in 1937, and by then, stories were coming out of Europe from Jews and others trying to escape. Torn between a strong desire to become a military nurse and care for the "boys" fighting for a free world, she joined the Army Nurse Corps. Mr. Welch, the author, uses a non-traditional, non-chronological structure for the book. In addition to giving us the story of Frances' life, he also covers changing opinion in the US about the war, and events in Europe leading up to and encompassing the war. He gives a good picture of what life was like for the men and women of the 45th Field Hospital - one of the first hospitals to land in Normandy, arriving on 10 june, 1944, 4 days after D-Day. Life was not easy for them - bad [horrible] weather, shortages of equipment, and above all, streams of casualties with injuries none of these people had seen before, not in ERs in Boston, and certainly not as a private duty nurse, as Frances had been. But the hospital and the individual care providers and staff learned their job, and provided the care that eventually led GIs to call the nurses "American Nightingales," giving Welch the title of this book. In October 0f 1944 Frances wrote a letter to STARS AND STRIPES, the military newspaper published in Europe, intending it for "letters to the editor." Instead the paper ran it as the lead editorial, only the second time in the war that a non-staff person had written the editorial; the first was Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two days later, she was killed in an attack that hit the hospital hard. A week later, the letter was published and brought more letters to the paper than any other article published. And then the story of her death broke, scooped by Catherine Coyne, a woman reporter from Frances' hometown paper, the BOSTON HERALD. A hospital ship was named for her. When her body came home to Boston, she had an honor guard of women veterans from the Lt. Frances Y. Slanger PLost Number 313 of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S., the first all-female post of that organization, as well as members of the Boston City Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1937 - her class. In the years since the war, other people and even other wars have taken over the news cycle. I hope that this is a name that is familiar to Army nurses at least. She represents our best and brightest.
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  • Maureen Caupp
    January 1, 1970
    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 right before the start of World War I. She embodie 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 right before the start of World War I. She embodied the American spirit, striving to make her mark through hard work and overcoming obstacles, she wanted to make the world a better place. She felt it was her duty to care for the soldiers defending the country that had become her home. I cried when I read the samples of responses of soldiers sent to Stars & Stripes after Frances's article was published.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    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 around France and Belgium dozens of times, Frances 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 around France and Belgium dozens of times, Frances and the doctors and nurses of the Forty-Fifth treat 4,950 patients, losing only 223. Unfortunately, Frances earns the distinction of being the first American nurse to be killed in action in Europe. This is her story and the story of those who knew her, a petite 5’1” Jewish woman who would hold hands and dab sweat off the foreheads of American GIs and German POWs alike.
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  • Whymsy Likes Books
    January 1, 1970
    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 it willingly.This is a story not just anyone coul 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 it willingly.This is a story not just anyone could write about. Bob Welch has a special gift; giving a soul to his story and not merely recounting a series of events. His writing of the unadorned, and at times horrific, reality has a gritty edge to it, which is able to convey the seriousness of the situations without being completely off putting for the reader. Not a very easy balancing act, but Welch manages it perfectly. He lightens the load with the graceful interweaving of Slanger’s story and history with other accounts to give dimension and put the reader directly in the action. Welch also makes great use of Frances Slanger’s own writing; insight into her thoughts feelings and character gives an intimate understanding of her goals and struggles.Frances Slanger was a woman who was grateful to give. A woman who believed she could make a difference just by caring. A woman who heard a call to serve others and answered. For the full review and others visit http://whymsylikesbooks.blogspot.com/
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    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 poured into the newspaper offices adopting her as t 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 poured into the newspaper offices adopting her as the sweetheart of the Army and again thousands of letters arrived to mourn her death when it was announced. After her death, a hospital ship was named in her honor and her casket was carried through the streets of Boston on the same caisson that FDR's was. This book is a great reminder of all of the women who served alongside the men in those darkest of days.
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  • Brianna Headley
    January 1, 1970
    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 information as she did, and that Slanger kept such a great r 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 information as she did, and that Slanger kept such a great running narrative on life. The language the author used really painted the picture well and captured the horror of war that our textbooks tend to underestimate.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    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 know this truly remarkable unremarkable person.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    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, especially if you're interested in WWII.
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    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 WWII heroes, all of them.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    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: http://www.gazettetimes.com/articles/...
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  • Sandra D
    January 1, 1970
    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
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Gretski
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting account of a Polish-American Jew who works as an army nurse in Normandy during WWII. The heroine is intense and respected but a hard character to like. This was an interesting read but did not lend itself well to our book club discussion.
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  • Amanda Regan
    January 1, 1970
    What a great trailblazer for those I the army Nurse Corps. The strength, determination, and love she has for the nursing profession is one to be admired and incorporated into all nurses. She truly was the Florence Nightingale to the US Army.
  • Paula Rota reynolds
    January 1, 1970
    So grateful that this story was told. As a retired Army nurse it has enriched my life realizing again the richness in the history and lives of those nurses who served in WWII.
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