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Editors’ Bookshelf

June 2024
1min read


It’s always a good
time to celebrate
military valor, and in
Combat Jump: The
Young Men Who
Led the Assault Into
Fortress Europe,
July 1943
(Harper-
Collins, 400 pages,
$24.95), Ed Ruggero tells the story of
the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
which made the Army’s first-ever
full-scale paratrooper invasion during
the Allied attack on Sicily in World
War II. If the invasion had failed, the
Army might have written off paratroopers
as a weapon. Ruggero follows their
story from induction to the end of the
Sicily campaign, with much help from
the men’s still-vivid recollections. Medal
of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the
Call of Duty
, by Nick Del Calzo and Peter
Collier (Artisan, 272 pages, $40.00),
honors the 3,440 American servicemen
through the centuries whose bravery has
been outstanding enough to earn them
the nation’s highest military award.
The book does this by telling the stories
of 117 living Medal of Honor recipients.
Each breathtaking story is illustrated with photographs showing the recipient during hisservice days and today.

The world remembers Samuel F. B.
Morse as a successful painter who
became even more successful inventing
the telegraph. He saw things differently.
Believing that President John Gtuincy
Adams had personally denied him a
key commission, he wrote, “He killed
me as a painter, and he intended to do
it…” and “I could wish that every
picture I ever painted was destroyed.”
About his technological breakthrough—
and his patent battles over it—he
wrote at one point that “if ever demoniac
possession belonged to an invention, not
seven but seventy have crept into the
Telegraph.” In Lightning Man: The
Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse

(Knopf, 489 pages, $35.00), Kenneth
Silverman, the author of a Pulitzer-
and Bancroft-prizewinning biography of Cotton Mather, reveals a turbulent man in aturbulent time he helped shape.

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