Medal of Honor: Profiles of America's Military Heroes from the Civil War to the Present

Overview

Medal of Honor portrays 11 recipients of this sacred U.S. military decoration, from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, and examines what drove them to go so far above and beyond the call of duty. Among the stories is an account of the life of the only woman ever to receive the medal; of an officer who staged a daring escape from a German POW camp in WWI; and of a soldier from the legendary WWII Japanese-American 442nd, who went on to earn the medal in the Korean War. The book tells not only of astonishing ...

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Overview

Medal of Honor portrays 11 recipients of this sacred U.S. military decoration, from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, and examines what drove them to go so far above and beyond the call of duty. Among the stories is an account of the life of the only woman ever to receive the medal; of an officer who staged a daring escape from a German POW camp in WWI; and of a soldier from the legendary WWII Japanese-American 442nd, who went on to earn the medal in the Korean War. The book tells not only of astonishing military actions but also, significantly, of the recipients' lives before and after their wartime experiences.

In his moving commentary, acclaimed 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace places these actions in historical context and relates his own personal experiences in WWII and as a journalist covering recent wars. He also meditates on the meaning of courage and shows what we can all learn from these extraordinary individuals.

"The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medal of honor of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while a member of the Army, Navy, or Air Force distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty." —The United States Congress

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Allen Mikaelian presents a stirring and patriotic look at eleven outstanding Americans who have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. They include Lieutenant Ernest Childers, who, in his assault on a WWII German position, was reduced to throwing rocks at the enemy; and pacifist medic Desmond Doss, who saved more than 100 lives in a single day. 60 Minutes icon Mike Wallace contributes an introduction.
From the Publisher
"We Americans have gone off to war in a spirit of optimism that had little to do with the reality we would soon have to face."—Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace
"We Americans have gone off to war in a spirit of optimism that had little to do with the reality we would soon have to face."
Publishers Weekly
In this lively account, Mikaelian traces the history of the Medal of Honor, the highest military distinction awarded in the United States, and the lives of several of those who have earned it in the years since it was established by President Lincoln during the Civil War. He focuses not only on their heroic feats, but also on what became of them in the wake of their deeds and the honor the medal earned them. This recording is augmented by readings by Wallace, who tells of his own wartime experiences and supplies historical context with the same timbre and excellent gift for timing and dramatic buildup that many will recognize from his work on 60 Minutes. The stories themselves are read by a rotation of three other readers, although Chase, Culp and McLarty have very similar voices and approaches. While their performances get the job done, they somewhat pale when juxtaposed with that of Wallace, and their tone and style occasionally bring to mind educational films from high school history class. The production that accompanies them is pronounced, but not over the top. It doesn't include bugle calls or the muffled clap of cavalry, but it doesn't shy away from the occasional drum roll or a few bars of "When Johnny Came Marching Home," either. Above all, though, the engrossing stories themselves will keep listeners engaged if not fascinated. Based on the Hyperion hardcover (Forecasts, May 27). (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786885763
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/14/2003
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 984,752
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Mikaelian received his M.A. in history, with distinction, from the University of London's Institute for English Studies. He lives in Washington, D.C., and serves as a board member and adult literacy tutor with the Washington Literacy Council.

Mike Wallace is a leading force behind CBS's 60 Minutes, which has ranked among Nielsen's top ten highest-rated primetime programs for twenty-three consecutive seasons—a record no other program has approached. He has won nineteen Emmy awards and countless other professional honors. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Story of the Medal of Honor
Ch. 1 Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Civil War 1
Ch. 2 Leopold Karpeles, Civil War 19
A Nation of Immigrants 41
Ch. 3 Edouard Victor Michel Izac, World War I 45
Ch. 4 Samuel Woodfill, World War I 75
Return to Isolationism 106
Ch. 5 David M. Shoup, World War II 109
Ch. 6 Maynard H. Smith: World War II 135
Ch. 7 Vernon Baker, World War II 162
Uneasy Peace 189
Ch. 8 Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura, Korean War 193
Ch. 9 William Charette, Korean War 219
From the Forgotten War to the Living-Room War 238
Ch. 10 Dwight Johnson, Vietnam War 241
Ch. 11 Thomas Kelley, Vietnam War 256
Afterword 273
Notes 281
Acknowledgments 299
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    Ordinary People Who Become Heroes

    I found this book fascinating and well-written. It's not meant to be a reference book, or an exhaustive listing (whether of Latino recipients or any other ethnic group.) But it does provide detailed accounts of how ordinary soldiers rose to greatness and performed acts of amazing courage. The battle scenes are especially gripping, but the author also brings in much background material to describe where such unlikely heroes came from, and how their lives unfolded afterward. Very few of them came home to honor and/or glory. He also describes the politics and strong emotions behind the awarding of the MOH, and offers some insights into the racism, sexism and classism which often controlled who was awarded the medal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    the extraordinary few

    The author chooses from some of the forgotten and obscure receipients and shares with his readers their tales of almost unimaginable courage. Do not expect a reference book for this book is a portrait of just few of the thousands who have received the medal of honor. No book could offer anything but a cursory portrait of all of the extraordinary winners of the Medal. I liked who the author chose and I enjoyed their stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2002

    Blandness Of Bravery

    I found this book to be a major dissapointment. If you are looking for the exciting heart-pounding and tear-jerking tales of the bravest of the brave, sandwiched by their pre-combat and post-combat livihood, look elsewhere. The author presents the lives of several MOH recepients whose stories pale in comparison to other MOH recipients of whom I've read. Their stories are told in shades of grey, the blandness disrupted momentarily by the actual combat tales which are unfortunately given little more attention than a footnote. The worst injustice however is the author portraying some of these MOH recipients as using their medals as a vehicle for arrogance and boastfulness, something I've never found reading of other recepients'. I will not reccomend this book to anyone, particularly not to any MOH recipients as it taints the Value of Valor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2002

    Incomplete

    This book portrays fifteen Americans who have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. If you buy this book expecting profiles of Medal of Honor winners like Everett Alvarez, Eugene A. Obregon, Roy P. Benavidez, Daniel Fernandez, Silvestre S. Herrera, Jose Lopez, Alfredo Gonzalez, Harold Gonsalves, Louis Rocco, Jose M. Lopez, Rodolpho P. Hernandez, etc--you won't find them here. This book would be much better if it were more comprehensive. Unfortunately, it's somewhat disappointing.

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