One Glorious Ambition

One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix
Jane Kirkpatrick

I knew nothing of Dorothea Dix besides her name; whatever she had done in history was something I don’t remember ever learning about. Yes, her name seemed familiar. But other than that, I had nothing.

One Glorious Ambition introduced me to an interesting woman with a mission: to reform the national care of the mentally ill. Until her work, mental patients were basically kept in prison cells- a bad thing both ways, as they not only were neglected of the care they needed, but they drove the other prisoners insane themselves.

One thing that really interested me about this book was Dorothea’s desire to “keep her femininity.” Even though her life was certainly far from the norm of most 19th century women, she was no rabid feminist, and even though I don’t agree with all of her actions, I do admire many things about her.

Dorothea’s life was very difficult, and sometimes it was depressing. One Glorious Ambition was very educational, but not particularly exciting, and so though I did think the read was worth the while, it’s probably not one I’d read again.

Rating: 7

received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for my honest review.


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