Written in 1857, this is the autobiography of a Jamaican woman whose fame rivalled Florence Nightingale’s during the Crimean War. Seacole’s offer to volunteer as a nurse in the war met with racism and refusal. Undaunted, Seacole set out independently to the Crimea where she acted as doctor, and mother, to wounded soldiers while running her business, the ‘British Hotel’. A witness to key battles, she gives vivid accounts of how she coped with disease, bombardment and other hardships at the Crimean battlefront.
Mary Seacole was born in 1805 in Jamaica, the daughter of a Scottish soldier and a free black woman. From her mother she learned traditional African herbal medicine and also incorporated European medical ideas into her treatments. When the Crimean war began in 1853, she offered her services to nurse the wounded but was rejected. Undeterred, she set up the ‘British Hotel’ just behind the lines, selling food and drink and caring for injured soldiers. This book is the story of those times, told in Mary Seacole’s own words.
Paperback, 2005, 288 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics