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ISBN: 9781896941479 - Valour Reconsidered
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Valour Reconsidered

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Hugh A. Halliday

ISBN: 9781896941479
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Robin Brass Studio


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The Victoria Cross (VC) is the most famous decoration for bravery in the world, its prestige rivalled only by the Medal of Honor. Other awards recognise courage in dangerous (but not combat) circumstances, among them the George Cross and Canada's Cross of Valour. This book examines recommendations for VCs and similar awards.

 

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The Victoria Cross is the most famous decoration for bravery in the world, its prestige rivalled only by the Medal of Honor. Other awards recognise courage in dangerous (but not combat) circumstances, among them the George Cross and Canada's Cross of Valour. But how is bravery measured? Is valour "in the presence of an enemy" more deserving than valour away from combat? Do all brave persons receive the honours they deserve? Where does "duty" end and "above the call of duty" begin? Has courage sometimes been confused with recklessness? This book examines recommendations for VCs and similar awards, asking why some were approved and some not. It explores factors such as service politics, evolving perceptions "extreme danger" and the role of personalities who sponsored or opposed recommendations. The author questions campaigns to award posthumous honours years after the event in attempts to rewrite history. Such lobbying in the United States resulted in bestowal of the Medal of Honor on Theodore Roosevelt 82 years after his death. Similar actions are proposed in the case of VCs for Australian, British and New Zealand heroes decades after the First and Second World Wars, purportedly to "re-right" historic injustices. Halliday revisits the controversy of Billy Bishop's VC (1917) and sheds new light on VCs awarded after the 1942 Dieppe Raid. He includes a provocative chapter on Canadian honours and awards, suggesting that current Canadian definitions of valour and service are more generous than those prevailing in other countries.