These titles look at how society cares for veterans and civilians—or not—after the guns fall silent.
Carrying the Colors
In 2001, Andrew Jackson Smith posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Civil War. The son of an enslaved woman and a white landowner, he escaped to Union troops in Kentucky, eventually making his way north and volunteering for the 55th Massachusetts, one of the newly formed African-American regiments. He received commendation as a brave warrior who risked his life under Confederate fire to save his regiment’s flag. Historians Beckman and MacDonald follow his journey and the decades of effort on the part of his descendants to see that he receive his long overdue medal.
A Demon-Haunted Land
In contrast with accounts of post-WWII Germany that focus on its transformation from dictatorship to democracy, historian Monica Black examines the country’s postwar preoccupation with evil. Millions of people, she writes, suffered blindness, paralysis, and other unexplained ailments attributed to the supernatural; prayer groups performed exorcisms; and neighbors accused one another of witchcraft—all manifestations, she writes, of a pervasive sense of shame and guilt.
The Last Million
At the end of WWII in Europe, millions of former POWs, forced laborers, and concentration camp survivors remained in a devastated Germany. Historian and biographer Nasaw, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Andrew Carnegie and The Patriarch, tells the story of the mass statelessness that ensued: one million people, either refusing or unable to repatriate, became refugees, sparking an international humanitarian crisis.
Parekh, associate professor of philosophy at Northeastern University, considers the ethical implications of the contemporary refugee crisis, suggesting that no solution offers the displaced true refuge. Through first-person accounts of the dehumanizing conditions refugees endure, she works to clarify the challenges for Western countries who provide asylum and the dangers faced by those who seek and cannot find it.
They Were Soldiers
Galloway (coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once... and Young) worked as a war correspondent in Vietnam and received the only medal of valor the U.S. Army awarded to a civilian. He and Wolf, an Army combat photographer who received a battlefield promotion to lieutenant, share stories of 47 veterans who went on to make contributions in many fields, such as FedEx founder Frederick Wallace Smith and former combat nurse Eileen Moore, an appellate judge who also served as a mentor in a veterans treatment court in California.