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Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World Paperback – April 10, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Martin’s life-and-work portraits, with their subjects’ pluck and pioneering spirit, will surprise and, perhaps, inspire readers.” (Booklist)

“Self-sacrifice and determination abound in the tales....Meticulously researched, Martin holds his subjects in deserved high-esteem.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Reverent character sketches of some unusually self-reliant Americans....Inspirational yarns of exceptional folks who made a difference...surprisingly entertaining.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Paul Martin creates a fascinating sub-text to American history: the literally un-sung hero who through imagination, daring, perseverance, and occasional great risk affects the shaping of democracy. This enthralling, episodic ramble’s perfect for anyone interested in how America managed to get from there to here.” (James Conaway, author of Napa: The Story of an American Eden)

“Look who Paul Martin found hiding in the cracks and crevices of American history--a colorful cast of forgotten characters definitely worth getting to know!...From the grocery store to the battlefield, forgotten heroes who left an indelible mark on American history. An enjoyable and eye-opening read.” (Rick Beyer, author of The Greatest Stories Never Told)

“Endlessly entertaining…Martin introduces us to a colorful cast of saints, visionaries and occasional rogues, and he does so with style and zest. Heroes, yes, but secret no more, these are (extra)ordinary men and women well worth our attention, in a book that makes history joyous.” (Thomas C. Foster, author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor)

From the Back Cover

Not all American heroes appear in the standard history texts. Their achievements aren't celebrated like the monumental exploits of presidents, generals, and founding fathers. But for as long as this great nation has existed, ordinary citizens have done extraordinary things. In Secret Heroes, author Paul Martin spotlights thirty overlooked Americans, all of whom had an impact on their world and ours, including:

Hercules Mulligan, the New York tailor and spy who saved George Washington's life . . . twice!

Jimmie Angel, the gold-seeking bush pilot who, in 1933, discovered the world's highest waterfall in Venezuela.

Carl Akeley, a pioneering taxidermist who killed a leopard with his bare hands and inspired Africa's first national park.

Eliza Scidmore, who convinced the government to plant cherry trees in Washington, D.C. . . . after twenty-four years of lobbying!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062096044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062096043
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Well written, easy to read and exceptionally interesting. Each chapter is about a different person that never achieved wide spread fame, but made significant contributions (often much more significant than more famous counterparts)to this country and to the world. Great for before bedtime reading because each chapter is like starting a new "mini" book. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be in the library of every US school. It should be on the desk of every middle school teacher and should be required reading by our middle school students and by those applying for US citizenship.
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Format: Paperback
In general I like books like this, books that highlight little pieces of history that might otherwise go unnoticed. In this particular case it was all the more interesting because I've met Kirk Bloodsworth Bloodsworth: The True Story of One Man's Triumph over Injustice (Shannon Ravenel Books), work for the company that publishes The Navajo Code Talkers The Navajo Code Talkers (25th Anniversary Edition), and read about a few of the other Americans mentioned in this book. I was hoping that the stories would be factual but enjoyable and they definitely were.

Unfortunately many of these Americans are women or minorities. It's amazing how long it took for white men to recognize their contributions. Grace Abbott was a particularly interesting person. I'm glad that someone was looking out for new 'crops of American children' with the same diligence that was give to our agriculture crops.

Jimmy Angel's story was well told. I never knew the origins of Angel Falls although I remember reading about the actual falls back in history class. I hope that I can live my life with the same dignity as Ishi. I wish we all had the courage to do what is right when the stakes are high, like Hugh Thompson, and the quiet dignity of Joseph Dutton. And Eliza Scidmore, goodness, the woman labored for years against a bunch of men who just didn't want to hear her. Now, visitors flock to DC every year to see her idea in bloom.

Great stories, well worth purchasing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like to read stories of unusual people and these were people who did amazing things but forgotten by history. How history forgot about these individuals is one of the tragedies of life and the world. A good read and interesting to say the least.
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I am finding this book to be absolutely riveting. To read about these 'unsung heroes', at least until now, has been a real eye-opener. Even if you have a mediocre passing interest in history, this book will definitely get your juices flowing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this you realize how shallow our history books are in school. Most of what's presented are political messages built around some facts. This books points out there are real people who lived real lives involved in many historical events.
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Format: Paperback
Some names in history are easily associated with the greatness of the acts they committed or simply by the person that they became. Other's however often go by the wayside because no one paid them much mind but their accomplishments are just as worthy as those of someone whose name is synonymous with greatness.

In the book, Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World, author Paul Martin did some extensive research into the lives of people who really did have an impact on the way this great country has been so blessed. Names of people you wouldn't recognize such as Carl Akeley, Jimmie Angel, Kirk Bloodsworth, Ishi, Hercules Mulligan, Cynthia Ann Parker and even Solomon Louis. In this amazing book, Paul Martin researches 31 amazing people whose lives had a lasting impact in ways we fail to recognize and in some cases taking our own government decades before they acknowledged the sacrifices these people made.

Ishi was the last of his Native American tribe that would rather risk death than living alone when his entire race of people were slaughters by the white man, leaving him all alone. Yet no remorse or bitterness was present when white man came to attempt to communicate with him and his story will not only make a lasting impression on your mind but on your heart as well.

Cynthia Ann Parker, was a white girl that was abducted by the Comanche tribes and spent years becoming part of their lives until her family intervened and attempted to bring her back to freedom. In the end, it broke her heart and ultimately brought about her own death.
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