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The Ghosts of Hero Street: How One Small Mexican-American Community Gave So Much in World War II and Korea
     

The Ghosts of Hero Street: How One Small Mexican-American Community Gave So Much in World War II and Korea

by Carlos Harrison
 

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They came from one street in Silvis, Illinois, but death found them in many places . . .

. . .in a distant jungle, a frozen forest, and trapped in the flaming wreckage of a bomber blown from the sky. One died going over a fence during the greatest paratrooper assault in history. Another fell in the biggest battle of World War II. Yet another, riddled

Overview

They came from one street in Silvis, Illinois, but death found them in many places . . .

. . .in a distant jungle, a frozen forest, and trapped in the flaming wreckage of a bomber blown from the sky. One died going over a fence during the greatest paratrooper assault in history. Another fell in the biggest battle of World War II. Yet another, riddled with bullets in an audacious act of heroism during a decisive onslaught a world, and a war, away.

All came from a single street in a railroad town called Silvis, Illinois, a tiny stretch of dirt barely a block-and-a-half long, with an unparalleled history.

The twenty-two Mexican-American families who lived on that one street sent fifty-seven of their children to fight in World War II and Korea—more than any other place that size anywhere in the country. Eight of those children died.

It’s a distinction recognized by the Department of Defense, and it earned that rutted, unpaved strip a distinguished name. Today it’s known as Hero Street.

This is the story of those brave men and their families, how they fought both in battle and to be accepted in an American society that remained biased against them even after they returned home as heroes. Based on interviews with relatives, friends, and soldiers who served alongside the men, as well as personal letters and photographs, The Ghosts of Hero Street is the compelling and inspiring account of a street of soldiers—and men—who would not be denied their dignity or their honor.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[An] important story of the brave young Mexican-Americans from western Illinois who left their immigrant families behind and volunteered to serve their country during World War II. While many made the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting to preserve the freedom of our great nation, the story of Hero Street is also about the perseverance and values of the families and community they left behind in Silvis.”—Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

“A shining example of patriotism at its best. At a time when there is still name calling about some of our immigrants, it is a story that needed to be told.”—Former U.S. Representative Tom Railsback

“When our servicemen and women risk their lives for the security of our families and communities, we must stop and reflect on the immensity of their sacrifice. The Ghosts of Hero Street reminds us why we must be appreciative, and teaches us how we should say thank you.”—Former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros

“The documentation of the incredible stories of real-life heroes of a small neighborhood in America is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the patriotism of Americans of Hispanic origin...At last we get to read about what’s good in America.”—Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre, President Emeritus, National Council of La Raza

“Versatile journalist and author Harrison explores the moving microcosm of pride and patriotism within a Mexican-American Illinois railroad community. . . . Harrison deftly marshals the intricate details of battle, hardship, and victory.”—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-18
Versatile journalist and author Harrison (The Power of Business en Español: 7 Fundamental Keys to Unlocking the Potential of the Spanish-Language Hispanic Market, 2007, etc.) explores the moving microcosm of pride and patriotism within a Mexican-American Illinois railroad community. A small, nondescript block of Silvis, Ill., gave more young men to fight and die in World War II and the Korean War than any other "similarly sized stretch" in the United States—22 families sent a total of 57 soldiers, eight of whom died. Harrison is a lively, thorough writer who has done his homework; he provides a well-researched account of the history of the town and its memorable personalities as they moved through the Depression, World War II and beyond. Fleeing the instability of their homeland during the decade of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), the early immigrants to Silvis were lured by the promise of work in the burgeoning American railroad, where they were offered low-paid but mostly steady work. The Quad Cities was an important hub, and the Mexican families were allowed at first to live around the railroad yard, in abandoned boxcars, before moving to Second Street, where they built modest homes and a solid, self-sufficient community. Though bigotry was rampant, the community took up America's sense of urgency after the attack on Pearl Harbor, answering the call for workers in the Rock Island Arsenal and young conscripts in the Army. Harrison follows the fates of soldiers, including the three Sandovals, one who toiled in Burma, the other in France, and the other in Tunisia and Sicily; Claro Soliz, who was launched into France as part of Operation Cobra; and Tony Pompa, who perished in the skies over the Alps. The Western Union man delivering his grim message would be a familiar sight on Second Street. Harrison deftly marshals the intricate details of battle, hardship and victory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101593035
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/06/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
989,841
File size:
13 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“[An] important story of the brave young Mexican-Americans from western Illinois who left their immigrant families behind and volunteered to serve their country during World War II. While many made the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting to preserve the freedom of our great nation, the story of Hero Street is also about the perseverance and values of the families and community they left behind in Silvis.”—Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

“A shining example of patriotism at its best. At a time when there is still name calling about some of our immigrants, it is a story that needed to be told.”—Former U.S. Representative Tom Railsback

“When our servicemen and women risk their lives for the security of our families and communities, we must stop and reflect on the immensity of their sacrifice. The Ghosts of Hero Street reminds us why we must be appreciative, and teaches us how we should say thank you.”—Former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros

“The documentation of the incredible stories of real-life heroes of a small neighborhood in America is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the patriotism of Americans of Hispanic origin...At last we get to read about what’s good in America.”—Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre, President Emeritus, National Council of La Raza

“Versatile journalist and author Harrison explores the moving microcosm of pride and patriotism within a Mexican-American Illinois railroad community. . . . Harrison deftly marshals the intricate details of battle, hardship, and victory.”—Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author

Carlos Harrison is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, editor, and writer of more than a dozen books available in English and Spanish. A former reporter for Miami’s NBC affiliate and a national and international correspondent for the Fox News Channel, Harrison has optioned multiple screenplays, written two award-winning television documentaries, and published hundreds of newspaper articles and magazine pieces in a wide variety of media, from the Huffington Post and Southern Living to a number of travel, celebrity, and business publications. As a reporter at the Miami Herald, Harrison shared the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News, covering the arrest of Yahweh Ben Yahweh, a national religious cult leader accused of ordering the murder of one of his followers.

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