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Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and the Six Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq First Edition Edition

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ISBN-10: 0312363850
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Editorial Reviews


Uncommon Valor is truly the best book on military matters that I have read this year. . . . Of all the books that we have honored over the years with our Founder's Award (this one had no competition) this was and is the best of the best! (Bill McDonald, Military Writers Society of America founder) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

DWIGHT JON ZIMMERMAN is an award-winning author of books and articles on military history and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. He lives in Brookyn, NY. JOHN D. GRESHAM is a veteran military analyst and the co-author, with Tom Clancy, of Clancy’s bestselling nonfiction series, including Special Forces: A Guided Tour of the US Army Special Forces, and Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing. He lives in Fairfax, VA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363850
  • ASIN: B0051BNXPW
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,774,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DWIGHT JON ZIMMERMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author, radio show host, producer, and president of the Military Writers Society of America.

Zimmerman's latest book is STEVE McQUEEN FULL THROTTLE COOL, the graphic biography of actor/racer Steve McQueen, with art by Greg Scott. He also collaborated with Scott on AREA 51 THE GRAPHIC HISTORY OF AMERICA'S MOST SECRET MILITARY INSTALLATION. It gets behind the scenes and reveals the amazing story of one of America's most controversial secret military installations.

Zimmerman is the co-author, with Bill O'Reilly, of the New York Times #1 bestselling LINCOLN'S LAST DAYS, a young adult adaptation of Bill O'Reilly's bestselling KILLING LINCOLN. LINCOLN'S LAST DAYS won the 2013 Branson Stars and Flags Grand Prize, the second year in a row that Zimmerman received the organization's highest honor.

Zimmerman's book, SAGA OF THE SIOUX, a young adult adaptation of Dee Brown's classic history of the American West, has been acclaimed by critics as "a powerful work" (School Library Journal), "a masterful adaptation" (VOYA), "cogent, heartbreaking narration" BCCB, "history classes and others interested in this period will welcome this offering" (Booklist), and others. It received the 2012 Gold Medal in the Young Adult Non-Fiction category from the Military Writers Society of America and the 2012 Branson Stars and Flags Book Awards Grand Prize, the organization's highest honor.

Zimmerman has written a series of articles commemorating the 70th anniversary of World War II for Defense Media Network chronologically recounting events of that conflict. They offer a fascinating mix of history and human interest and can be read for free at Defense Media Network's website:

Zimmerman is the co-author, with John D. Gresham of UNCOMMON VALOR: The Medal of Honor and the Six Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq, which has received the Military Writers Society of America's most prestigious honor, the MWSA Founder's Award for 2010.

His first book, FIRST COMMAND: Paths to Leadership, which has a foreword by James M. McPherson, presents the pivotal challenges and events that occurred in the early careers of generals from George Washington to Colin Powell and how they overcame them. Zimmerman was the co-executive producer of the cable television miniseries based on his book. The miniseries debuted on the Military Channel in 2005 and has been regularly aired on the channel ever since. It won the 2005 Aurora Platinum Best of Show Award for Historical Programming. In 2009, the book received the Branson Stars and Flags Gold Medal Award in the Reference/Technical category. First Command is on the U.S. Army Chief of Infantry Recommended Reading List: Junior NCOs.

Zimmerman has written two acclaimed popular surveys of wars and weapons through the ages. THE BOOK OF WAR, about pivotal battles, leaders, and strategies from ancient to modern times, received the 2009 Gold Medal Award for Reference by the Military Writers Society of America. This was followed by THE BOOK OF WEAPONS, a critically acclaimed sequel about important weapons, weapon designers, and arms manufacturers and merchants throughout history.

Zimmerman is also the author of two graphic histories. THE VIETNAM WAR: A Graphic History, illustrated by Wayne Vansant, a ground-breaking book that for the first time recounted the entire Vietnam War in the graphic novel format. It received the 2010 Gold Medal Award: Artistic/Graphic from the Military Writers Society of America and the 2010 Branson Stars and Flags Gold Medal Award in the photography/graphics category. Military Review, the official journal of the U.S. Army, placed it on its recommended reading list. THE HAMMER AND THE ANVIL, also drawn by Wayne Vansant, is a critically-acclaimed dual biography of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Zimmerman's young adult biography, TECUMSEH: Shooting Star of the Shawnee, received the 2010 Bronze Medal Award: Young Adult Non-Fiction from the Military Writers Society of America.

Zimmerman is the co-author, with John D. Gresham, of the critically acclaimed history of seven pivotal special operations from the Vietnam War to present day, BEYOND HELL AND BACK.

Zimmerman has written numerous articles on military subjects for Faircount Media and other publishers. His article, "Maritime Mobility," for The Shield of Freedom, an annual publication about the Coast Guard, was selected by the Naval War College for use in its curriculum. And his article about a special operations mission during the Korean War led by the theater's surgeon general that had high-stakes diplomatic consequences, originally published in The Year in Special Operations 2009 was selected for re-publication by the Journal of Special Operations Medicine.

Zimmerman has been a guest lecturer at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College.

He was a producer for the independent film, Trooper, which received the Bronze Remi Award at the 2010 Houston International Film Festival.

Zimmerman was the host of the Veterans Radio program "At Ease" which interviewed historians about their latest books. Guests included bestselling authors Rick Atkinson, Robert Edsel, Larry Bond, Thomas Fleming, amongst others.

Zimmerman was the researcher for THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR, edited by Craig L. Symonds and Harold Holzer with a forward by former president Bill Clinton, and THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPLETE WORLD WAR II edited by Richard Overy with a forward by Tom Brokaw.

Zimmerman began his career in publishing at Marvel Comics, where he held a variety of editorial positions. Among his Marvel comic book writing credits are stories for Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Hulk, and other superheroes. In 1992, Zimmerman became executive editor of Topps Comics and was responsible for the editorial and art direction of its lines of media tie-in comics including series based on The X-Files, Mars Attacks, Jurassic Park, Zorro, Xena: Warrior Princess and other titles. In addition, Zimmerman was the writer, editor, and art director of Princess Diana the graphic novel biography of Diana, Princess of Wales published by Topps.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen M. Rodgers on September 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Final Roll Call:

"Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith."
"Corporal Jason Dunham."
"Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy."
"Petty Officer Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor."
"U.S. Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis."
"U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti."

What makes a person deliberately fall on a grenade, charge into a line of fire, sacrifice his life to save another? The six brave men listed above, all posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, aren't here to explain their actions. All we can do is guess why they did what they did. In Uncommon Valor, authors Dwight Jon Zimmerman and John D. Gresham attempt to answer these haunting questions.

The book delves into the history of the medal itself, but for me, the wife of a former fighter pilot and now mother of an Army 1st Lieutenant, my favorite chapters were the ones that explored each man's past. I learned about their childhoods, their families, and their lives before they chose to enter the military. Throughout the book, I was reminded of a line from The Soldier's Creed: "I am a warrior and a member of a team." Each man put his comrades first.

This book will change you. Reading Uncommon Valor will make you want to become a better person. A better citizen. A better steward of this great land we call America.

I highly recommend this book.

Kathleen M. Rodgers ~ author of JOHNNIE COME LATELY forthcoming from Coffeetown Press 2/1/15.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BL on September 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a former columnist for Stars and Stripes/Europe, a member of the Military Writers Society of America, and an Air Force spouse of thirty years, I am honored to recommend "Uncommon Valor."

"Uncommon Valor" is a comprehensive review of The Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor, and the six warriors who earned it in Afghanistan and Iraq. The awards were made posthumously after mind-boggling heroics in which each sacrificed his life for his fellow soldiers, sailors, or airmen. Readers also discover each recipient's past childhood and family history that led up to the defining moments of life.

Any yet, "Uncommon Valor" is more. Between each chapter, the co-authors also offer fascinating explanations - in easy to understand laymen's terms - of the conditions, tribal politics, and geographical landscape in Afghanistan or Iraq which led to each heroic action that culminated in the individual's Medal of Honor nomination and ultimately, the posthumous award.

Zimmerman and Gresham's work of narrative non-fiction is an uncommonly important read for our times. Even before the book was released, the co-authors were invited to speak this autumn to cadets at West Point.

"Uncommon Valor" would make the perfect gift for anyone interested in military history and for any active duty military member or veteran.

"Uncommon Valor" has already become one of my all time favorite books. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Fair disclosure: Although I have never met either author, I received an advance galley copy earlier this summer.

~ Bonnie Bartel Latino
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By willie P on December 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A true testament to the warrior ethos. These warriors sacrificed not for self but for the love of their comrades. Nowhere else on earth would you find the love and brotherhood displayed in our military. Laying your life down so others may live is not a planed action. Jumping on a grenade,shielding your team from an IED blast is a split section action. Throughout the book you will read about sacrifice, love of country, but most of all the dedication and warrior spirit to adapt, improvise, and overcome. The MEDAL OF HONOR is like no other it is the highest tribute to the warriors in harms way.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karl G. Stenholm on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just finished "Uncommon Valor" by Dwight Zimmerman and had no idea until a few minutes ago that I could still be so impressed. This is, of course, an inspiring topic - the medal of honor - but the candid disclosure of the medal's not always sterling history is extremely well done and beautifully juxtapositioned against the amazing stories of its recent recipients. Superb job of researching the history and honoring the lives of some of this country's heroes.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Though the opening quote comes from the classic Korean war epic BRIDGES AT TOKO-RI, it sprang to mind as I read Dwight Zimmerman and John Gresham's exceptional chronicle of the six soldiers who won the Medal of Honor in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other books have been written on MoH winners but few have done such an insightful job of revealing the human being behind the award. UNCOMMON VALOR is a great read; alternately touching, exciting, inspiring and saddening.

All six MoH winners covered in UNCOMMON VALOR received the Medal posthumously. They are Paul Smith, Jason Dunham, Michael Murphy, Michale Monsoor, Ross McGinnis and Jared Monti. Several were squad leaders, several were grunts; others were SEALs. Some awards were made for leadership; others for self-sacrifice. Their backgrounds and time in service were as different as day and night. The only commonality seemed to be that, when exceptional courage was called for, each man stepped up.

The extensive research undertaken by Zimmerman and Gresham enable them to present a multi-dimensional portrait of each man. Their early life is detailed along with their decision to enlist, service prior to their MoH action, etc. The process by which each was recommended for and received the MoH is also detailed. The authors interweave these stories against the backdrop of a comprehensive history of the Medal of Honor since its inception.

Whatever your views regarding the on-going struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan, UNCOMMON VALOR is required reading. It puts a very human face on those far-away conflicts and reminds us of the price paid by the fine American men and women engaged in those conflicts. UNCOMMON VALOR comes highly recommended.
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