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Thread: What got you into history?

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    I had to look VADs up: Voluntary Aid Department. I didn't know about them so thanks. That is definitely an avenue I'll have to do more research on.

    My favorite story is that of Florence Nightingale who is usually portrayed as carrying that lamp in the night to tend to the wounded in the Crimean War. But she was one of the first medical researchers of the modern age and a famous statistician among people familiar with her work. She carefully collected data on wound care and wound healing.

    She developed what is now known as the Rose Diagram. Who knew? Is she listed as a famous mathematician? Of course not, she's not a he.

    Nightingale's Rose Diagram:
    In 1858 nurse, statistician, and reformer Florence NightingaleOffsite Link published Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army. Founded Chiefly on the Experience of the Late War. Presented by Request to the Secretary of State for War. This privately printed work contained a color statistical graphic entitled "Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army of the East" which showed that epidemic disease, which was responsible for more British deaths in the course of the Crimean War than battlefield wounds, could be controlled by a variety of factors including nutrition, ventilation, and shelter. The graphic, which Nightingale used as a way to explain complex statistics simply, clearly, and persuasively, has become known as Nightingale's "Rose Diagram."

    In January 1859 Nightingale more offically published and distributed A Contribution to the the Sanitary History of the British Army During the Late War with Russia. This also contained a copy of the Rose Diagram.
    Is she often credited with her work in wound care? Of course not, she's not a he. She's the nurse with a lamp caring for those wounded men.
    Last edited by MaeZe; 11-23-2017 at 03:30 AM.

  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW Tom from UK's Avatar
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    I never thought of myself as being particularly "into" history. The way I got writing historical novels was that I really wanted to write a story about a basically good person ending up doing terrible things and when I tried to think of a scenario I realise that history gave me real examples. I'd come across James Brooke on a visit to Borneo and decided that he was the character I wanted to write about.


    After I'd written The White Rajah, an agent told me I should stick to historical novels and I've been turning them out ever since. As my son says, I don't have the imagination to come up with my own plots so I have to write about things that (more or less) really happened.
    Six books!! I don't remember that. When did that happen? http://thewhiterajah.blogspot.com/

  3. #28
    practical experience, FTW
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    That's interesting, Tom! I find writing about real historical people too limiting. Or maybe I just don't have the guts to try it.

  4. #29
    professional dilettante Lakey's Avatar
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    That is really interesting. I wonder if it’s about finding the sweet spot of a story that’s well enough documented to support your research while leaving enough space for your imagination to thrive. I was rereading some Tracy Chevalier recently and this is something she does — for instance, her novel Remarkable Creatures, about the early paleontologists Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott, reconstructs the historical record of Philpott’s and Anning’s family situations, Anning’s finds, and her and Philpott’s correspondences with various other natural philosophers, but (I think) takes a lot of liberties in building the specific dynamics of the relationship between the two women and their interior lives. It’s lovely if one can do it well (as Chevalier does) but must be quite a challenge!

  5. #30
    Tribune of the Lost Fort Gabriele Campbell's Avatar
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    Well, growing up in Germany where you step into 2000 years worth of history the moment you leave the house, with history loving parents and shelves of books on history ... I was a lost case from the cradle.

  6. #31
    The force is strong in this one. williemeikle's Avatar
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    I've got a degree in Archaeological Botany, which involved studying pollen types found at different levels of peat bogs in West / Central Scotland to determine what plants were growing, and what kind of agriculture was being undertaken, at different periods of history. That led me directly into more detailed study of Scottish history, that then spilled over into more detailed studies of history in general, and the megalithic stone builders in particular.

  7. #32
    figuring it all out
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    I disliked history until I looked more into my Italian heritage and history. Now I like world history, but never got into my own country's history.

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