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

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A fascinating look at six of our bravest soldiers and the highest military decoration awarded in this country Since the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor, has been presented to only eight men for their actions "above and beyond the call of duty." Six of the eight were young men who had fought in the current war A fascinating look at six of our bravest soldiers and the highest military decoration awarded in this country Since the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor, has been presented to only eight men for their actions "above and beyond the call of duty." Six of the eight were young men who had fought in the current war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. All of these medals were awarded posthumously, as all had made the choice to give their lives so that their comrades might live. Uncommon Valor answers the searing question of who these six young soldiers were, and dramatically details how they found themselves in life-or-death situations, and why they responded as they did. For the first time, this book also provides a comprehensive history of the Medal of Honor itself—one marred by controversies, scandals, and theft. Using an extraordinary range of sources, including interviews with family members and friends, teammates and superiors in the military, personal letters, blogs posted within hours of events, personal and official videos and newly declassified documents, Uncommon Valor is a compelling and important work that recounts incredible acts of heroism and lays bare the ultimate sacrifice of our bravest soldiers.


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A fascinating look at six of our bravest soldiers and the highest military decoration awarded in this country Since the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor, has been presented to only eight men for their actions "above and beyond the call of duty." Six of the eight were young men who had fought in the current war A fascinating look at six of our bravest soldiers and the highest military decoration awarded in this country Since the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest award for valor, has been presented to only eight men for their actions "above and beyond the call of duty." Six of the eight were young men who had fought in the current war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. All of these medals were awarded posthumously, as all had made the choice to give their lives so that their comrades might live. Uncommon Valor answers the searing question of who these six young soldiers were, and dramatically details how they found themselves in life-or-death situations, and why they responded as they did. For the first time, this book also provides a comprehensive history of the Medal of Honor itself—one marred by controversies, scandals, and theft. Using an extraordinary range of sources, including interviews with family members and friends, teammates and superiors in the military, personal letters, blogs posted within hours of events, personal and official videos and newly declassified documents, Uncommon Valor is a compelling and important work that recounts incredible acts of heroism and lays bare the ultimate sacrifice of our bravest soldiers.

30 review for Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and the Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq

  1. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Wow! Obviously, this book is incredibly sad, but it allows you to see some of the things from the war that you otherwise wouldn't know about. I also learned a lot about the different medals. It was all very interesting. The stories in this book really touch your heart. I'm glad my husband asked me to read it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    It was an honor and very humbling to read about these Medal of Honor recipients. There aren't enough words to describe how amazing and selfless they were.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Faulkner

    Terrific book -- well-researched and well-written. Interesting topic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    Spending time with books that I have read in the past but did not leave a review, I pulled this one off my shelf and read it once again. I remembered immediately why I was touched by it and why I never got rid of it. Growing up in a military home I always knew about the Medal of Honor and some of the past recipients from WWI and WWII, here though are today’s young heroes. I had already read the story about LT. Murphy from the book by Marcus Latrell and I am still amazed by LT. Murphy’s sacrifice Spending time with books that I have read in the past but did not leave a review, I pulled this one off my shelf and read it once again. I remembered immediately why I was touched by it and why I never got rid of it. Growing up in a military home I always knew about the Medal of Honor and some of the past recipients from WWI and WWII, here though are today’s young heroes. I had already read the story about LT. Murphy from the book by Marcus Latrell and I am still amazed by LT. Murphy’s sacrifice that day. The same with each of these men. I would later read about Sgt. Monti in another book about the 10 Mountain Division and how his sacrifice that day going after one of his men three times instilled what was in each solider fighting on that mountain. Each story shows the men from their time growing up to when the entered the service and then their dedication not only to the job at hand but to each person that was with them side by side, true brothers in arms ready to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of others and I really don’t think they thought about it that they each one acted as it was just in their nature to do what they did. This was and is still a fantastic book about courage and today’s soldier. Very much worth the read still.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eric W

    This book was absolutely AMAZING!! It told some of the most touching, brave, and sad stories about the recipients of the Medal of Honor. These stories were about the six soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of these recipients have earned the respect of everyone in the United States of America. They cared deeply for their country, and some of them died for it. I would deeply encourage you to read this book. But be advised: These stories involv This book was absolutely AMAZING!! It told some of the most touching, brave, and sad stories about the recipients of the Medal of Honor. These stories were about the six soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of these recipients have earned the respect of everyone in the United States of America. They cared deeply for their country, and some of them died for it. I would deeply encourage you to read this book. But be advised: These stories involve the reality of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which the details would be hurtful to the minds of sensitive readers.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaylee Hartwig

    A touching read on the some of the selfless heroes that are the Medal of Honor recipients. The paperback copy I had also included a revision adding 2 extra men who received the medal while waiting for the hard cover to be released, so I recommend finding that version if possible. Many of the stories brought me to tears. I learned a lot about the history of the medals including the over issuing of the medal before clear criteria was set, the under issuing due to prejudice of the past, and also ab A touching read on the some of the selfless heroes that are the Medal of Honor recipients. The paperback copy I had also included a revision adding 2 extra men who received the medal while waiting for the hard cover to be released, so I recommend finding that version if possible. Many of the stories brought me to tears. I learned a lot about the history of the medals including the over issuing of the medal before clear criteria was set, the under issuing due to prejudice of the past, and also about the black market and counterfeit medals that exist and what was has been and is continuing to be done to right the wrongs of the past.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thad m

    This book is humbling, it shows heroism, valor, and the realities of war. I read this and thought it was a very good book and detailed perfectly to give a sense of what the life of these soldiers was like and how they felt among many things including patriotism and their fellow soldiers. The reason I rated it four stars instead of five was because of the explanations behind the Medal of Honor seemed drawn out to me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Rodgers

    Final Roll Call: "Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith." Silence. "Corporal Jason Dunham." Silence. "Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy." Silence. "Petty Officer Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor." Silence. "U.S. Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis." Silence. "U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti." Silence. 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 Final Roll Call: "Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith." Silence. "Corporal Jason Dunham." Silence. "Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy." Silence. "Petty Officer Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor." Silence. "U.S. Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis." Silence. "U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti." Silence. 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 2nd 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 the Amazon best-selling novel, "The Final Salute" Ranked #1 Top Rated War Fiction

  9. 5 out of 5

    Blaine Pardoe

    The stories of battle from Afghanistan and Iraq are just emerging. That is the way of history, that the true tales of valor take time to reach the light of day. The stories we grow to know first are those of the people that win the Medal of Honor. This book takes us through several of those stories - introducing us to not just the heroes but their past and what made them the people that were destined or ordained to secure this highest honor. The book is well written, very entertaining. Unlike ot The stories of battle from Afghanistan and Iraq are just emerging. That is the way of history, that the true tales of valor take time to reach the light of day. The stories we grow to know first are those of the people that win the Medal of Honor. This book takes us through several of those stories - introducing us to not just the heroes but their past and what made them the people that were destined or ordained to secure this highest honor. The book is well written, very entertaining. Unlike other books of this period these stories were complete. They didn't leave me with gaps or lacking details. This is not a book about war - its is about people...which are the best kind of stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert Moore

    The men highlighted in this book are the epitome of a HERO. It's not just their brave final acts, how they conducted themselves throughout life should be heralded. They'll be forever bonded by final altruistic acts which saved lives of their comrades, fully aware it'd probably be their last. The father or Ross A McGinnis put it best when he said, "I never knew what a Medal of Honor recipient would look like." They're not John Wayne look-a-likes, only ordinary men who lived extraordinary lives.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vincent O'Neil

    From the end of the Vietnam War through September 2009, only eight Medals of Honor have been awarded. I think a couple of more have been awarded since 2009, but that still seems like a very low rate of recognition. The authors focu on the lives - and deaths - of six awardees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These bios are sobering, and encouraging. America has young men willing to die to protect their buddies. A very comprehensive history of the medal is included, and the list of source mater From the end of the Vietnam War through September 2009, only eight Medals of Honor have been awarded. I think a couple of more have been awarded since 2009, but that still seems like a very low rate of recognition. The authors focu on the lives - and deaths - of six awardees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These bios are sobering, and encouraging. America has young men willing to die to protect their buddies. A very comprehensive history of the medal is included, and the list of source material is incredible. A must read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    non-fiction; good military and war history as well as information about the Medal of Honor and it's recipients

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Neal

    Great explanation of our military honors and the history of the various branches as they developed the awards. A must read to know about our heroes from Afghanistan.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Pokorny

    Short stories of those awarded the Medal of Honor in the 21st Century. Inspiring.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan Kerr

  17. 5 out of 5

    Atar

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Liddle

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Diamond

  20. 4 out of 5

    Braxtin Walker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Routh

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim Annino

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ben James

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Coward

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Lopez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shane Palmerton

  28. 4 out of 5

    Writestream Radio

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brock

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cody

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