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Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty Hardcover – September 14, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This group portrait of most of the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor has an entry for each recipient, including a photo portrait at the time of the award, a summary of the medal-winning action and sometimes (though not often enough) the later career. The variety of actions documented by Collier (The Rockefellers) will impress even fairly seasoned students of military history, as will the 250 duotone portraits. They range from thumbnail period snapshots to full page close-ups of the lions in winter. Van Barfoot, of Choctaw descent, overcame minefields and German tanks in World War II. William Charette was one of numerous medics who fought with a first-aid kit and raw courage. Air Force Maj. George Day was a Vietnam War POW who received his medal for tenacious resistance in the Hanoi Hilton. Eugene Fluckey of the USS Barb is the last surviving submariner of World War II to receive the medal. The six-foot-seven-inch Robert Foley won the medal in a bunker complex in Vietnam and retired as a lieutenant general. And Shizua Hiyashi had to overcome prejudice as well as Germans to have his DSC upgraded to the medal 55 years after he won it in Italy. Courage is a key component of every medal recipient, and so is loyalty to both country and comrades, superior skills and dogged determination.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Impressive and moving.-The Weekly Standard (The Weekly Standard)

These stories of courage under fire inspire awe and gratitude.-Readers Digest (Reader's Digest)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; Har/DVD edition (September 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653149
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 1.2 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I always feel reverence for the service given by the veterans of our armed forces. For me, it matters little what they did because they spent a portion of their life supporting the defense of our freedom. Everyone in the military matters.

Even so, those who have faced the rigor of combat have earned an even deeper gratitude. What they face in battle changes their life forever. It can never be the same. An evidence of this is how difficult it is for combat veterans to describe their experience of the war to those of us who have never shared in that experience. The closest most of us get is watching documentaries on The History Channel or reading serious books on the history of the various conflicts that have required so much of our soldiers.

This is a wonderful and serious book. Our country has awarded the Medal of Honor, our highest military award, to only about 3,400 recipients since the award was created. Of that number, fewer than 140 are alive today. This book provides portraits of those still living. One page provides a current photograph of each man and another page briefly tells about what was done to merit the award. Each story causes me to shake my head in disbelief. These stories describe acts of selflessness, of duty, of courage that inspire a deep gratitude and admiration for these men and the thousands like them who have passed on.

As I turned the pages of this book, I felt I was in a sacred place. I looked at the picture of the young man who became a hero, read the words of his heroism, and then look in the face and eyes of the older man who has lived so long after those acts, and yet I suppose that day is ever with them.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Connor D. Smith on May 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My father, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Dyess, USMCR, earned the Medal of Honor in World War II. He is also the recipient of America's highest award for civilian heroism, the Carnegie Medal, which he earned at age 19. He is not included in Medal of Honor by Peter Collier because he was killed in combat and only the living Medal of Honor recipients are profiled in this book. On March 25, 2005, Mr. Robert Avilla wrote and very unfavorable review of this book because it did not include a profile on Roy Benavidez. Mr. Avilla may not have understood why Benavidez was not included in Medal of Honor. Since Benavidez died in 1998, he, like my father, was not included in the book which was not published until five years after Benavidez's death. Happily, Benavidez wrote an autobiography before he died. This book is available through In sum, Medal of Honor by Peter Collier is a magnificent tribute to our living Medal of Honor recipients. It should be required reading for every young person in America.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on May 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a classic coffee table book. It's too large to fit on your book shelves but just right to rest on your coffee table. And, since it includes 117 separate and distinct stories of living men who won the Medal of Honor, you can pick it up, read a page or two, then put it down and come back to it later without skipping a beat. Best of all, the stories are interesting enough that your friends will enjoy scanning the book while you're off making the margaritas.

In the book you'll meet such diverse characters as the man who won the [Congressional] Medal of Honor and then went on to become a janitor at the Air Force Academy, another who went on to become the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and still another who asked that his award simply be mailed to him. Then there's the fellow on whose body Forrest Gump's head was superimposed receiving the medal from President Johnson and the medical corpsman who rescued 75 GIs on Okinawa, all the while praying, "Dear God, let me get just one more man." And what about the fellow whose award was expedited so he could receive it before he died of his wounds, only to survive? And on it goes . . .

For those interested in American history and America's heroes, these stories are not only interesting but also awe inspiring. Some may bring a tear to your eye, while others will bring a swell of pride to your chest. Many will also make you wonder where such men come from and how they can do such heroic deeds.

My only complaint about the book is that I would like to have read about some of those who won the award but did not survive. But I guess that would be another story.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DG Mogle on November 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A dear friend highly recommended Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty so recently I was standing in the bookstore waiting for the clerk to find it on the computer. After the third try she told me it was not showing up on her screens when another shopper walked up to me and placed it in my hands. He said " I overheard you asking for this and I had just looked it over"
With this auspicious beginning, my journey into the world of Medal of Honor winners began. As I looked through this beautiful book, I found myself taken by the photography and absorbed by the accompanying text which details the events of each honoree. Although I looked at each page and the photographs, I found that I had to pace myself on reading the text and short biographies. That is a lot there on many levels so I used the photos as a guide to decide which ones to read during this first encounter.
This book evoked tears for me. I have served in the military although not in combat. Also I have served in the US Peace Corp so I have always been aware of the paradox of the human condition.
While reading, I found discovered some very ambivalent feelings. Respect and admiration for the portraits of courage was obvious. Yet, simultaneously, a soul felt sadness when I realized that the "enemy" described on several pages, could very well have been the beloved grandfather of a dear friend I stayed with in Germany recently.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to explore the challenges of the human spirit.
DG Mogle
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