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The Medal of Honor: a history of service above and beyond

9 October 2014

The Medal of Honor: a history of service above and beyond

The Medal of Honor: a history of service above and beyond, Editors of Boston Publishing, 2014, ISBN 9780760346242, 304 pp.

Medal of Honor by the Editors of the Boston Publishing Company

Medal of Honor by the Editors of the Boston Publishing Company

 The USA’s highest military award is the Congressional Medal of Honor and its history as almost as varied as its recipients. There have been several versions of the medal, even a peacetime medal until the end of World War II, as well as changing criteria for awarding the medal as we know it today.

Remaining constant throughout the medal’s history is the selflessness displayed by the men and single woman awarded the Medal of Honor. Almost invariably each story involves fire and pain as well as desperate circumstance and diminished odds. The Medal of Honor illuminates war’s paradox of bringing the worst and the best out of people. The Medal of Honor also illustrates the wars the United States has fought since the inception of this most honored of medals with the Civil War and is current through June 2014. Each chapter succinctly and quite honestly describes the specific war, setting the context for the events leading to Medal of Honor awards. It is humbling to read of so many actions done by one person at a time to save a few.

Not all of the hundreds of Medal of Honor citations are found within the book, though all those awarded are specified, but dozens are and they are incredible each in their own way. Examples are: an airman manhandling a lit magnesium flare (burning at thousands of degrees) out of his aircraft; a cavalryman galloping to and fro in no man’s land under intense enemy fire for 20 minutes to retrieve an ammunition laden as well as very frightened mule; a sailor who bled to death spending his final 20 minutes saving his ship leading damage control efforts.

Editors of the Boston Publishing Company have produced a book worthy of these recipients. The Medal of Honor is a coffee table book with full color embossed Medals of Honor on the cover. The book can serve as a primary reference — due to its attention to detail and its excellent writing — it is as well at home on an officer’s desk as it is on a teacher’s desk as it is on the family coffee table.


As is the publishing business custom, Zenith Press and On-line Bookstore provided a copy of this book for an objective review.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 November 2014 10:49

    It is the Medal of Honor NOT the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is authorized by the Congress and presented by the President. Way does this ignorance still persist?

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      12 November 2014 17:55

      Hello Fred and thank you for your attention. My writing appears to have hit a nerve as indicated by your judgmental language with “ignorance” as your crafted term of choice.

      You may have been too quick off the mark, however, as my use of “Congressional” is as an adjective I felt needed. Since this blog is read in over 60 counties I take care to not generically write in a USA-centric fashion — hence my simultaneous use of both English and metric units as well as disuse of contractions. You may not be aware that more than one country awards what is termed “Medal of Honor” as particular example.

      Also, you touched a nerve of mine and that is throwing a shot without either mentioning your qualifications as judge or provision of references to verify your assertion. Obviously, care is taken to make this blog correct — and I have been more than willing to amend error and give credit — but leaving this author to go on a detective hunt to verify your assertion is not as contributory as you may hope, or not of your concern as the case may be.

      Again, thank your for your attention but, as explained above, I do not see an error nor do I see ignorance. As an aside, a Medal of Honor awardee told me over a soda that he was being saluted by everyone since he had been awarded the “Congressional Medal of Honor” — so I can side with him or your myopic semantic slant without parsing of the sentence — you can guess who wins that one.


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