A comprehensive survey of over 200 U.S. heroes from the American Revolution through today, in all areas of achievement. Essays discuss the individual's early life, career and achievements, and major contributions.
In the twenty-first century, and in the age of information and dwindling privacy, the term "hero" is more subjective than ever. Not all heroes are the spotless paragons envisioned in fiction or set forth in old history books. Today, many of our traditional heroes are silhouetted against their very human flaws—perhaps making their accomplishments all the more remarkable.
All can agree, however, that a "hero" is a person who has placed others above self, who has invoked courage to undertake difficult and risky endeavors in order to better the world for others, who has breached the minimum of what is expected to reach for what can be. Such heroes come from all walks of life and can surprise not only others but also themselves in what they are able to accomplish, providing inspiration to others along the way.
American Heroes surveys more than 200 U.S. heroes from the American Revolution through today, in 39 areas of achievement, including:
The over 200 people covered in set include 41 African Americans, 148 Euro-Americans, 6 Jewish Americans, 3 Latino Americans, 15 Native Americans, 2 Pacific Islander Americans and 63 women.
All the essays in this set have been selected from the popular Salem titles, Great Lives from History: The 18th Century, Great Lives from History: The 19th Century, and Great Lives from History: The 20th Century. Each essay has been fully revised and updated for this three-volume set.
Each comprehensive, in-depth essay is approximately 5 to 6 pages in length. Essays are arranged in a standard format which includes vital ready-reference data;
- identification (such as "Astronaut," "Baseball player," "Civil Rights activist," or "President of the United States")
- a summary abstract of the person's key role and importance
- dates and places of birth and (where applicable) death
- a list of "also known as" names and nicknames
- a list of areas of achievement
- several paragraphs covering "Early Life," on upbringing and education
- substantial text on "Life's Work," addressing career and achievements
- and a "Significance" section that summarizes the individual's major contributions.
Every essay ends with a "Further Reading" section that lists three to ten annotated books and other print sources for further study; these bibliographies are up to date through 2007. All essays are signed by academicians and other expert contributors.
Three complete indexes can be found at the end of Volume 3 to aid students and general readers in accessing the material for reports and areas of interest. A Category Index arranges the heroes by area of achievement. An Ethnicity Index arranges the heroes according to their ethnicity. Finally, a complete Subject Index rounds out the set.