. . .in a distant jungle, a frozen forest, and trapped in the flaming wreckage of a bomber blown from the sky. One died going over a fence during the greatest paratrooper assault in history. Another fell in the biggest battle of World War II. Yet another, riddled with bullets in an audacious act of heroism during a decisive onslaught a world, and a war, away.
All came from a single street in a railroad town called Silvis, Illinois, a tiny stretch of dirt barely a block-and-a-half long, with an unparalleled history.
The twenty-two Mexican-American families who lived on that one street sent fifty-seven of their children to fight in World War II and Korea—more than any other place that size anywhere in the country. Eight of those children died.
It’s a distinction recognized by the Department of Defense, and it earned that rutted, unpaved strip a distinguished name. Today it’s known as Hero Street.
This is the story of those brave men and their families, how they fought both in battle and to be accepted in an American society that remained biased against them even after they returned home as heroes. Based on interviews with relatives, friends, and soldiers who served alongside the men, as well as personal letters and photographs, The Ghosts of Hero Street is the compelling and inspiring account of a street of soldiers—and men—who would not be denied their dignity or their honor.
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|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1 Hero Street, U.S.A. 1
2 "La Yarda" 11
3 Clouds at Home, Storms on the Horizon 23
4 A Star for Mom 41
5 All-American, All the Way 61
6 Between Flak and Fighters 93
7 Devils in Baggy Pants 113
8 More Tears on Hero Street 149
9 The Bloody Bocage 165
10 A Bridge Too Far 181
11 Christmas, Bombs, and Bullets 197
12 A Smile No More 217
13 Five Deaths in April 229
14 Beer and Sawdust 241
15 A Hearse in the Mud 249
16 May Massacre, Bloody Ridge 263
17 Hero Street 275
18 The Bombardiers Wife 285
What People are Saying About This
“[An] important story of the brave young Mexican-Americans from western Illinois who left their immigrant families behind and volunteered to serve their country during World War II. While many made the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting to preserve the freedom of our great nation, the story of Hero Street is also about the perseverance and values of the families and community they left behind in Silvis.”—Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
“A shining example of patriotism at its best. At a time when there is still name calling about some of our immigrants, it is a story that needed to be told.”—Former U.S. Representative Tom Railsback
“When our servicemen and women risk their lives for the security of our families and communities, we must stop and reflect on the immensity of their sacrifice. The Ghosts of Hero Street reminds us why we must be appreciative, and teaches us how we should say thank you.”—Former HUD secretary and San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros
“The documentation of the incredible stories of real-life heroes of a small neighborhood in America is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the patriotism of Americans of Hispanic origin...At last we get to read about what’s good in America.”—Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre, President Emeritus, National Council of La Raza
“Versatile journalist and author Harrison explores the moving microcosm of pride and patriotism within a Mexican-American Illinois railroad community. . . . Harrison deftly marshals the intricate details of battle, hardship, and victory.”—Kirkus Reviews