'She was emotional, she was vain, she was incomparable. She was a passionate cultivator of new ideas on the compost-heap of long rotted ones. She had a genius for rubbing noses into facts right in front of them. She had infinite capability and little tenderness. Her antiseptic ghost today haunts every sickbed in the world, to which she was Britain's most valuable and useful gift.' This harsh and gritty story of Florence Nightingale does little to perpetuate the myth of the gentle lady of the lamp. Instead, through the eyes of his impassioned narrator, Richard Gordon lays bare the truth of this complex and chilling character.
Richard Gordon is best-known for his hilarious 'Doctor' books and the long-running television series they inspired. Born in 1921, he qualified as a doctor and went on to work as an anaesthetist at the famous St Bartholomew's Hospital, before a spell as a ship's surgeon and then as assistant editor of the British Medical Journal. In 1952, he left medical practice to take up writing full time and embarked upon the 'Doctor' series. Many of these are based on his experiences in the medical profession and are told with the rye wit and candid humour that have become his hallmark. They have proved enduringly successful and have been adapted into both film and TV. His 'Great Medical Mysteries' and 'Great Medical Discoveries' concern the stranger aspects of the medical profession, whilst 'The Private Life' series takes a deeper look at individual figures within their specific medical and historical setting. Clearly an incredibly versatile writer, Gordon will, however, always be best known for his comic tone coupled with remarkable powers of observation inherent in the hilarious 'Doctor' series. 'Mr Gordon is in his way the P G Wodehouse of the general hospitals' - The Daily Telegraph. 'I wish some more solemn novelists had half Mr Gordon's professional skills' - Julian Symonds - Sunday Times