Terri Arthur, Fatal Decisions: Edith Clavell, World War I Nurse


Written as a novel, this book tells the story of Edith Cavell, a British nurse who established the first nursing school in Belgium just before WWI and got involved in the underground railroad smuggling foreign soldiers separated from their units (and often injured) through the border to evade the authorities under german occupation. Edith Cavell was eventually condemn to death by the German authorities for her activities.

The book is structured in three parts: the period in which Edith Cavell completed her training and started her career in England, the period during which she established a nursing school in the Brussels area, and finalky, the period during which Belgium was under German rule and Edith Cavell was involved in smuggling foreign soldiers out of the area.

The novel format makes this book a lively read. It gives an interesting picture of the development of the nursing profession at the  beginning of the 20th century when hospital-based support functions were being professionalized after the previous involvement of religious orders.

I knew of a mountain named Mount Edith Cavell in Western Canada but i had no idea who it was named after and this is what first attracted me to the book.

Thanks to the editor and NetGalley for access to this book.


Arthur, Terri. Fatal Decisions: Edith Clavell, World War I Nurse. 2nd edition. HenschelHAUS Publishing, Milwaukee, WI, 2014.

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