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Clara Barton: In the Service of Humanity.

David Burton is right to describe his subject as 'a strange cross of saint and sinner ... much loved but often not much Liked'. Clara Barton Clarissa Harlowe Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912), better known as Clara Barton, was a pioneer American teacher, nurse, and humanitarian. She has been described as having had an "indomitable spirit" and is best remembered for organizing the American  (1821-1912) was working as a clerk in the US Patent Office on the outbreak of the American Civil War American Civil War
 or Civil War or War Between the States

(1861–65) Conflict between the U.S. federal government and 11 Southern states that fought to secede from the Union.
. She abandoned her job and organized a volunteer service to aid the sick and wounded, and became an Angel of Mercy, a Florence Nightingale, at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and at Hilton Head, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures

Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15.
 - to name but the most prominent of the battlefields where she served. Near the war's end, Lincoln asked her to head a unit that tried to find missing soldiers and to trace unmarked graves - estimated to number some two hundred thousand. She lectured on her experiences in the years after the war and became a celebrity. Being in Europe when the France-Prussian War broke out in 1870, she learned of a new organization, the International Red Cross, with whose aims she at once identified. An eye-witness to its efforts to alleviate the sufferings of soldiers and civilians on both sides in the France-Prussian War, on her return home she became an active campaigner for the US to sign the Geneva Convention Geneva Convention Declaration of Geneva Global village A standard established in 1864 regarding the conduct of the military towards medical personnel, and obligations of medical personnel during acts of war. , the enabling act that had created the Red Cross in 1864. It provided for the neutrality of the medical services of the armed forces and for the humane treatment of all prisoners. It was thanks to her efforts that the American Red Cross American Red Cross: see Red Cross.  became a relief organization to respond to disasters of any nature - at home or abroad. She was an activist as well as an organizer: she was in Johnstown after the flood, in Galveston after the tidal wave, and in Cuba during the Spanish-American war Spanish-American War, 1898, brief conflict between Spain and the United States arising out of Spanish policies in Cuba. It was, to a large degree, brought about by the efforts of U.S. expansionists. . Whenever there was a catastrophe, she had to be there; she was the salt of the earth. David Burton tells her story well. His biography is at once detailed, vivid and fascinating reading.

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Author:Wright, Esmond
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1995
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