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Widely known today as the "Angel of the Battlefield," Clara Barton's personal life has always been shrouded in mystery. In Clara Barton, Professional Angel, Elizabeth Brown Pryor presents a biography of Barton that strips away the heroic exterior and reveals a complex and often trying woman.
Based on the papers Clara Barton carefully saved over her lifetime, this biography is the first one to draw on these recorded thoughts. Besides her own voluminous correspondence, it reflects the letters and reminiscences of lovers, a grandniece who probed her aunt's venerable facade, and doctors who treated her nervous disorders. She emerges as a vividly human figure. Continually struggling to cope with her insecure family background and a society that offered much less than she had to give, she chose achievement as the vehicle for gaining the love and recognition that frequently eluded her during her long life.
Not always altruistic, her accomplishments were nonetheless extraordinary. On the battlefields of the Civil War, in securing American participation in the International Red Cross, in promoting peacetime disaster relief, and in fighting for women's rights, Clara Barton made an unparalleled contribution to American social progress. Yet the true measure of her life must be made from this perspective: she dared to offend a society whose acceptance she treasured, and she put all of her energy into patching up the lives of those around her when her own was rent and frayed.
"Barton established and headed the American Red Cross, was superintendent of a women's reformatory, played a key role in providing medical aid and relief to Civil War battlefronts, and helped establish the New Jersey public school system. Yet her character was far from saintly. Her desire for approval and recognition was boundless, and her overachieving zeal alienated contemporaries. For this outstanding biography, Pryor uses Barton's recently discovered diaries, plus letters and other primary sources, to portray a complex, troubled heroine without delving into historical psychoanalysis. A tribute to a remarkable woman. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"Irresistible. . . . Clara Barton, compassionate angel, becomes Clara Barton, neurotic, adulterer, careerist, embittered octogenarian—an authoritarian boss unable to brook criticism or delegate authority, who demanded loyalty from all and prompted one aide to dub her 'the Queen.'"—Philadelphia Inquirer
Meticulously researched and well written. . . . Pryor has done an excellent job in bringing the real Clara Barton to life."—Civil War History
"Probing, thoughtful, fascinating, and beautifully written."—American Studies
Posted June 19, 2012
Elizabeth Pryor has created a superlative biography of one of the most fascinating women in the last two hundred years. Most biographies about Barton are sugary sweet and simplistic, creating a cartoon of a very complex woman. Barton was not only a compassionate, intelligent, and committed organizer and nurse, but a flesh and blood woman struggling with inner demons, incredible personal pain, and fiery desire. This is a great read for adults.
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Posted November 22, 2001
This book is on Clara Barton and helps you find out information about her. It will hlep you understand about 'the angel of the battlefield' and how she organized schools and the American Red Cross Association.
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