9780393051346 (hardcover), 9780393325621 (softcover)
Celebrating the larger-than-life sacrifices of those awarded the nation's highest honor for bravery in combat, Beyond Glory is the first oral history of living Medal of Honor recipients, providing, in their own words, the stories of the enlisted men and officers who have endured nearly unimaginable scenes of combat. Since the Medal of Honor was established during the Civil War in 1862, only 3,410 persons have received it; often it is awarded posthumously. Today, approximately 140 recipients from three wars remain alive. In Beyond Glory, editor and journalist Larry Smith offers interviews with 24 of these men, revealing their harrowing, firsthand accounts of battle -- from the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, to the battle for Toktong Pass in Korea in December 1951, to the bloody battles of South Vietnam in 1968. The accounts of sacrifice recounted here strip the glory from combat. At the same time, it becomes clear that these men, many of whom volunteered for duty, acted in extraordinary fashion because of their belief in and commitment to their country and, as General H. Norman Schwarzkopf points out in his introduction, to their fellow soldiers, Marines, and airmen. The men speaking here represent a cross section as diverse as America itself -- officers and enlisted men, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians, some of whom went on to become famous, such as Daniel Inouye, James Stockdale, and Bob Kerrey, and others who returned proudly to small-town lives in Idaho, New Mexico, or Texas. Many of these men are nearing the end of their lives (three have since died), and they are extremely candid as they vividly recall the events in the jungles of Guadalcanal, at Castle Aghinolfi on the coast of Italy, on Omaha Beach in Normandy, and on battlefields in Korea and Vietnam. These stories remind us of the price paid to preserve the American heritage and a world in which freedom can prevail. Accompanied by photographs by Pulitzer Prize winner Eddie Adams, the recollections of these men make for poignant, compelling, and emotional reading. As they are fond of saying, Freedom isn't free. Beyond Glory, in their voices, is a startling work of living history, a testament to the courage of the American nation.