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  • Matt Rappette

The Unlikeliest Hero by Booton Herndon


“The Unlikeliest Hero” by Booton Herndon is a book about the true story of an American Hero named Desmond T. Doss. This book is a biography sharing the story of this war hero who won the Congressional Medal of Honor and two Bronze Stars for his service and actions during World War II. Private First Class Desmond T. Doss was an Army medic during World War II who served with bravery and a strong belief system. He did not believe in harming anyone and would not carry a gun into combat, therefore was known as a conscientious objector. This belief system caused him some trials and question, but he did not waver from his convictions.

During the war, he and his platoon were sent into the Battles of Guam, Leyte, and Okinawa during World War II. During the Battle of Okinawa, he was instrumental in saving 50-100 wounded soldiers by helping to safely evacuate them from atop a spot in Okinawa called Hacksaw Ridge despite being wounded 4 times himself in the process. His story has been the subject of a documentary (The Conscientious Objector by Terry Benedict in 2004), a movie (Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield directed by Mel Gibson in 2016), and several other books. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor, despite his religious beliefs which prevented him from carrying a gun, being the only living conscientious objector to accept the award. It was presented to him by President Harry S. Truman in 1945.

It is an excellent choice of reading for someone who likes true stories, suspense, inspiration, or adventure in general. It takes you on a trip into the true story and life of this brave and courageous individual who showed character in the toughest of times and conditions. The book also provides lots of descriptive knowledge of the geography and typical situations faced by soldiers during the World War II era. I especially appreciated these authentic touches to the story since I enjoy history and had a family member serve in the Army during World War II who was a POW, and earned 3 Bronze Battle Stars.

The story of Desmond T. Doss is very inspirational and tells the story of Doss (written in 1967), at the time, the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. Since that time, two others, also medics, that were conscientious objectors also received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. The author is a journalist by occupation so he does a nice job of catching what kind of person Doss was, and you can get a good sense of his nature from his ability to write in a straightforward and descriptive way. I highly recommended this book because you will be inspired by its main character. It has it all: suspense, quick pace, riveting descriptions, peril, detail, tragedy, and suspense to name just a few. “The Unlikeliest Hero” by Booton Herndon is published by Pacific Press copyright 1967 and is 199 pages long.

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