Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj

This year is the centenary of the death of Florence Nightingale, so it seems appropriate to highlight a book about her from our list.

Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj, by Jharna Gourlay, presents in detail Nightingale’s involvement with India and Indians, and shows how she progressed from being concerned with the narrow sphere of army sanitation to the socio-economic condition of the whole of India.


‘This is the first book to examine in detail Florence Nightingale’s contributions to public health and welfare in India. Drawing on primary source material from Britain and India, Gourlay recounts how Nightingale went beyond reforming the working conditions of the British army in India, to improving sanitary services, and ultimately becoming the advocate for the riots, the peasants who constituted 80 percent of the population. Recommended. General readers; upper-level undergraduates and graduate students; professionals and practitioners.’    Choice

‘ This is a book to delight any historian – massively researched, clearly and economically written, and with a full academic apparatus, but above all dealing with an important aspect of British India which will be new ground for almost all British historians.’    Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research

‘The author should be highly commended for this work. She presents ten chapters full of detailed accounts of Nightingale’s involvement in Indian affairs… Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj is an important text that can be used as reference and motivation for the historical scholar… All in all, this text is an essential contribution to the health care humanities field because of its historical and literary significance. Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj will be of interest to scholars of Indian health care, public health, nursing, and the emerging area of twenty-first -century historical inquiry: global cross fertilization of health care knowledge and practices.’    Nursing History Review

‘The material is fascinating, and the tale well told.’    Bulletin of the History of Medicine

‘Gourlay has provided a concise and readable overview of an important Victorian’s contribution to imperial policies and practices relating to India. She has also added immensely to the scholarship about Nightingale, placing India alongside nursing at the centre of her life’s work.’    Victorian Studies

More about Florence Nightingale and the Health of the Raj

More about The History of Medicine in Context series


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