Bravest of the Brave
The Story of the Victoria Cross
I like heroes. Especially warrior heroes.
And this book is full of them.
This collection of true accounts of bravery by the military historian John Glansfield, is aptly named Bravest of the Brave: The Story of the Victoria Cross, and it is my favorite book on soldiery exploits I have read as of yet.
The subtitle suggests a history of the medal itself, and although there is two chapters that explains its origin, and chronicles its development, the majority of the book is the stories of hundreds of soldiers and their bravery. Their duty, and sometimes sacrifice resulted in the honor of winning the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for valor in Britain.
This book in both sobering and motivating (to a lad aspiring to do great feats of valor like myself, of course). Glansfeld's retelling of the achievements are detailed, electrifying, and sometimes gory, but no matter the deed done, I felt the soldier always won the Cross.
The cases are varied, from a midshipmen throwing off a bomb off his ship in the Crimean War, only to lose it on a train, to fathers and sons winning the Cross for individual acts of gallantry during the Indian Mutiny.
What a book relating armies being massacred by Savage Zulus, and Brits in a mini-sub being trapped under a Japanese war-ship after attaching bombs to it during WWII? It's all here, and more, including warriors being refused the Cross for fighting in the wrong wars!
When you read this book, and learn of the rewards these men received one very important thing to remember is that even a medal, the ultimate recognition of doing your duty, is only a medal. As Christians, we should live and fight for Christ, never for self, and earthly rewards. We should act courageous and gallant, but for our King, and not man's applause.
I look up to men for their supreme acts of valor, but I look to Christ for His saving mercy towards me.
Soli Deo Gloria,
The Book Adventurer
Purchase the book on Amazon.
Bravest of the Brave: The Story of the Victoria Cross by John Glanfield