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Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, by Caspar W. Weinberger and Wynton C. Hall

New York: Forge. Pp. 269. Illus., notes, index. $25.95. ISBN:0-765-31303-0 .

The war on terror has featured a number of heroes. However, what they did, or even who they are, have been largely ignored by the mainstream media, often only getting a blurb in smaller media outlets. Often, tales of heroism (like the actions of Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester during the ambush of a truck convoy in Iraq) are passed on via blogs and e-mails. Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger has come out with a book that tells the stories of nineteen of these heroes published shortly after his death in March, 2006. These heroes have received among the highest decorations for valor for their actions in the war, both in the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of this war. There are a total of ten Silver Stars, six Navy Crosses, a Distinguished Service Cross (the first since Vietnam), a Medal of Honor awarded, and one nominated for the Medal of Honor.

Each of these stories goes into detail about the feats these heroes have performed. In some cases, it was saving fallen comrades. In other cases, it was the decision to cover a live grenade to protect other Marines (an action that since World War II has often led to the Medal of Honor). It is stuff that could easily be found out by anyone who made the effort. Weinberger and Hall did just that to tell these stories. It is unimaginable that any major media outlet would be unable to tell these stories. Therein lies the biggest outrage – that it takes two people writing a book to put these stories into wide circulation. The mainstream media has very little excuse to miss such things – particularly if they can dig up the actions of renegade MPs at an Iraqi prison, or pass on highly dubious claims of torture or claims of Koran desecration.

This could be called laziness, but when the editors of a major newsmagazine edit a story about American efforts in Iraq because the embedded reporter’s story made the troops seem “too heroic”, one has to wonder if the media elites hold the troops in contempt. In the war on terror, accentuate the negative has been the rule, not the exception.

Home of the Brave is an important book to add to one’s collection. It is also a superb gift idea – readers will get the chance to read about real heroes who have placed everything on the line for this country.

Reviewer: Harold C. Hutchison    

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