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Awarded for Valour: A History of the Victoria Cross and the Evolution of the British Concept of Heroism (Studies in Military and Strategic History) Hardcover – July 8, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0230547056 ISBN-10: 0230547052 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Military and Strategic History
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230547052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230547056
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,913,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A fascinating study of the construction of heroism and martial virtue refracted through the evolution of the Victoria Cross. Smith analyses the complex interactions between civilian culture, governmental and military policy and the advent of industrial warfare in determining the standards of heroism required for the highest formal recognition. Along the way he reveals much about the evolution of the British Army, especially between the Crimean and the end of the Great War, and of the expectations held of it by government, public and its own members. Highly recommended.' - Professor Jeffrey Grey, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, Australia. 'Dr Smith has produced an interesting and important book that has done much to rescue the history of the VC from the attentions of amateur historians.' - Contemporary British History

About the Author

MELVIN CHARLES SMITH has taught at a variety of institutions, holding appointments at West Carolina University, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, the United States Millitary Academy at West Point, and Texas A&M International University. He is currently in a tenure-track position with the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, USA.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Altamore on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the most thoughtful and well-researched monograph on the topic of the Victoria Cross that I have encountered. It fully explores the reasons for the creation of the award and then traces the shifts in criteria for awarding the medal from its inception to the present day. It analyses the reasons for awarding the VC at various points in history and critiques the various military branches' awards bureaus for their viewpoints and motives. The author has filled a significant gap in British military scholarship. Well done.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Smith on August 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have 2 major problems with this book.

1) It is primarily a collection of excerpts from VC citations cobbled together. The author's primary contribution is a series statistics outlining the percentage of officer vs. enlisted awardees.

2) There is a subtle contempt which permeates the whole work. The author constantly second-guesses the men he discusses. Phrases like "he would have been better off helping the wounded" indicate not only the author's lack of respect for them, but a kind of academic hubris.

Do not buy this book.
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