A few good men
If ever a book captures men at their heroic best, it's Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. This volume, featuring text by Peter Collier and the photography of Nick Del Calzo, offers profiles of 116 living Medal of Honor recipients, all men who served not only with distinction primarily as veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam but also saved the lives of combat comrades and very often suffered horrendous physical injury themselves. Each profile features a picture of the soldier as a young man, a contemporary photo and a page of text offering basics about their service and the details of the brave acts that earned them their medals. There is a breadth of noteworthy ethnic representation among this special group of men, including Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye and other Asian, African, Hispanic and Native Americans. Yet the bulk of the focus is on seemingly average, hearty "regular guys" from farms and fields and small towns, who performed extraordinary acts in the heat of battle and miraculously lived to receive their nation's recognition, gratitude and highest honor. Among the others profiled are Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, James B. Stockdale of "Hanoi Hilton" fame, Sammy L. Davis (the real-life model for the exploits of the fictional Forrest Gump), and the remarkable Jack H. Lucas, who earned his medal while enduring horrendous injuries on Iwo Jima at the ripe old age of 17. Adding additional poignance to the book's overall impact, several of these heroes have passed away since the project was launched in 1999. Medal of Honor is an elegant testimonial to the price of freedom.