Hugh Small graduated in physics and psychology from Durham University and is a former partner in a leading US management consulting firm. He is now a political economist and a revisionist social historian. His current interests are in the area of local government and public health. He is secretary of the Westminster Branch of Living Streets, the UK charity which campaigns to create better streets and public places and to encourage physical activity.
His social history research is into Victorian social reform. His book Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel revealed Florence Nightingale’s deliberate destruction of her own exaggerated reputation after the Crimean War by leaking secret information that showed her Scutari hospital in a terrible light. She wanted this information to be known to the most influential people as a part of her plan for saving millions of lives in Britain and around the world through public expenditure on environmental improvements. Far from being a neurotic recluse, as she has been frequently portrayed, she became an influential politician who worked tirelessly to promote public health measures. In so doing she played a leading role in increasing life expectancy in Britain by half (from 40 years to 60) before any medical cure, prevention, or treatment for the killer epidemic diseases was available. The first edition of the book was hailed by medical historian James Le Fanu in the Daily Telegraph as ‘a masterly piece of historical detective work’ and by Nightingale’s biographer Mark Bostridge as "a shattering blow." Hugh Small’s research has featured in several broadcasts, most recently in BBC4’s series "The Beauty of Diagrams" presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy. A second edition of the book in May 2013 showed how the devolution of power under the 1871 Local Government Board Act (in which Nightingale played a key role) was critical to her success. Hugh Small is a widower with two daughters and five grandchildren and lives in London. For more details about his books, please see his own website.
Last modified 3 October 2013