Heroes tend to be associated with military service, and rightly so. But they can also be your parents, people who have overcome great odds, leaders of significant causes or a neighbor. Sadly, many heroes experience lives of suffering and hardship after their feats. We have many heroes at the library, where their stories can be read (in books) or seen (on DVDs).
World War I veteran Sergeant Alvin York (1887-1964) became a household name in this country after his heroism became known. Read about him in John Perry's biography "Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy." In 1941, the movie "Sergeant York," with Gary Cooper, was released.
Audie Murphy (1924-1971) was the most decorated soldier in the history of the U.S. military. He served in the Italian, French and German campaigns of World War II. He wrote an autobiography, "To Hell and Back." He starred in two films, "To Hell and Back" (1955), based on his autobiography, and "The Red Badge of Courage" (1951).
Rosa Parks' (1913-2005) defiance on a Montgomery, Ala., bus in 1955 was a heroic act for civil rights. "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks," by Jeanne Theoharis and "The Birth of the Montgomery Bus Boycott," by Roberta Hughes Wright are available. A film, "The Rosa Parks Story," starring Cicely Tyson, was released in 2003.
Two towering heroic figures of the 20th century were Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) from India and Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) from South Africa. We have "Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India," by Joseph Lelyveld, and "Gandhi Before India: How the Mahatma Was Made," by Ramachandra Guha. The excellent movie "Gandhi," starring Ben Kingsley, was released in 1982.
The remarkable life of Nelson Mandela is chronicled in his autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," which is also the title of a movie released in 2013, and "Conversations with Myself." Charlene Smith wrote "Mandela: In Celebration of a Great Life." "Invictus," produced in 2009 and starring Morgan Freeman, is a film that portrayed how Mandela used the success of the South African national rugby team to heal the scars created by apartheid.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was a courageous theologian who opposed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. Consider "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy: A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich," by Eric Metaxas and "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Life in Pictures," edited by Renate Bethge. A movie, "Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace," was released in 2000.
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a nun who gave a life of service to the poor and disadvantaged in India. Suggestions include "A Simple Path," written by her, and "Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography," by Kathryn Spink. A film, "Mother Teresa," was produced in 2003.
Aung San Suu Kyi is a heroic figure in the struggle to achieve freedom from a brutal military regime in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Read about her in Justin Wintle's "Perfect Hostage: A Life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's Prisoner of Conscience."
An additional resource is our Biography in Context database, available to library cardholders. It provides excellent in-depth information on the subject through magazine articles, newspapers and academic journals. You may also be able to listen to audio files and watch short video clips.
Bratton DeLoach is a reference librarian at the Bluffton library.