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Dangerous Book Of Heroes [Hardcover]

Conn Iggulden

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Book Description

June 15 2009
From the co-author of the bestselling 'The Dangerous Book for Boys', this is a book of heroes, new and old, known and sadly forgotten, now to be glorified as they ought to be. From Captain Scott to Joe Simpson, from Douglas Bader to Ernest Shackleton, from Gertrude Bell to Emily Pankhurst, Conn Iggulden brings our great heroes from history back to life. Filled with the British sense of fair play and decency that made 'The Dangerous Book for Boys' so popular, 'The Dangerous Book of Heroes' celebrates those who fought for what is right and good, those who made amazing discoveries, those who moved boundaries in their lifetimes. A book of heroes written by Conn Iggulden, a man who knows what makes a hero.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books (June 15 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000726092X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007260928
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 22.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 880 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #550,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for 'The Dangerous Book of Heroes' 'Entertaining, and stripped down to the interesting bits, it is a great read about those that put the Great into Britain. An inspiring read for lads and their dads, history pupils - and pub quiz fans' News of the World 'It should have a powerful and instructive effect on the children who read it' Telegraph 'Just the ticket to real-life derring-do...A summer treat that will raise a gasp and a chuckle long after the last grain of sand has fallen from its pages' The Times

From the Back Cover

Discover stories of heroism and adventure in this next installment of the blockbuster series Dangerous Book for Boys

Brothers Conn and David Iggulden present their big book of heroes: the men and women who have shaped our lives and inspired generations. This treasure chest of saints, rogues, and champions of causes great and small is filled with names you will surely recognize, such as George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. and Sir Henry Morgan and Edith Cavell, whose roles in history are no less significant or exciting. From Helen Keller and Scott of the Antarctic to Sitting Bull and the passengers of Flight 93, this dangerous book is dedicated to those who dove headfirst into battle, those who made amazing discoveries, and those who moved boundaries in their lifetimes.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative Book, and a Quick, Fun Read March 24 2010
By K. Varraso - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The latest installment in the "Dangerous Book" series is "The Dangerous Book of Heroes." It's a fairly thick volume with dozens of short biographies, which range from about a dozen to twenty pages. For me, that makes it a perfect book for Reading While Waiting. I spend a lot of time in doctor's offices, so waiting is a huge part of my life. These short biographies are just the right length to entertain and engage me before the doctor knocks on the door. I found the choice of Heroes to be especially interesting, especially since I had never heard of at least one of them referred to in any kind of a positive way before.

The book starts out with George Washington, and discussed many things I had never considered about the Father of our country. For instance, his biography begins by calling him neither a great soldier nor a great farmer, just a man put in the right place at the right time. It's a theory that carries throughout the book.

Part of the reason I really liked this book is the idea that anyone can be a hero, given the circumstances. The passengers of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 were heroes, although I don't think that any one of them thought that they would save the lives of thousands when they boarded their plane. Yet I think their inclusion in this book of heroes is perfect.

All in all, I recommend this book for any reader over the age of twelve or so, anyone old enough to accept the fact that not every story ends happily and that not all heroes have medals. I think it would be especially wonderful to read as a family, and to discuss the heroes listed here, and if they agree with the author that these people are heroes at all. (I agree with most, but not all of the people listed here, and there are a few others I'd have included)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected March 25 2011
By jessbcuz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
My eight-year old son loves adventure stories and enjoys learning about history. I thought this would be a perfect fit for him. I imagined that we would start by reading these together and then he would take off on his own. Unfortunately this book was not at all what I thought it was going to be.

The blurb on the back reads that it "compile[s] the stories of America's heroes from across the ages," but as another interviewer pointed out these are not just stories of Americans, but many many Brits as well. Although I guess one could argue they are still heroes of America, this is a bit misleading. It also promises "stories of courage and adventure." And yes, these are stories of people who had adventures and courage, unfortunately that adventure and courage is not communicated to the reader, especially younger readers.

Instead of the tales OF adventure that I was expecting, what we found when we opened this volume was fairly dry, short autobiographies filled with dates and names. Together we read the selection on Harry Houdini, a favorite historical figure of my son's. And we got immigration facts, his height, and the name of his wife. Not exactly reading that will keep a busy eight-year-old boy on the edge of his seat. The parts that could have interested him were quickly passed over with very few details given. For example, when he ran away from home at age 12 by jumping on a train was described in about as many words as I just used. These are not, as the back describes them, stories: they are collections of the facts, mere outlines of the stories.

The idea of this book has great potential. My son would love a collection of stories about some of the great adventures men and women have had in history. But they need to be told as stories, with details and emotion, and with carefully built suspense. As it is this book was a disappointment to both of us; we couldn't even finish the section on Houdini as I was as bored as he was. We may shelf this one for when he is older, but honestly I don't think it will be read. The life of these lives has been distilled out: all that is left is the facts, and that's not much fun to read (although it may be informative).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good collection of short bios May 20 2010
By Cowboy Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This isn't as fun as the authors' "The Dangerous Book for Boys" but it's still pretty good. If "The Dangerous Book for Boys" had not been a surprise best-seller, I doubt this book would've ever seen print; it doesn't have a particularly striking perspective on the topic of heroism. But here it is, a deliberate throwback that fills a need for a kind of old-fashioned tome filled with hero biographies set up as exemplary tales of morality and virtue -- not all that commonly seen nowadays.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book but some odd choices May 6 2010
By R. C Sheehy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I will give Mrs. Iggulden credit for taking a point of view and sticking to it. Having said that they do make attempts at a balanced book which presents what by their viewpoint should be heroes. What's confusing is what they consider a hero to be? They roam from some obvious moral choices such as Martin Luther King to Florence Nightingale, but they stick with an almost exclusive line up of military men. I would estimate that 80 percent of the heroes they portray are military and of that most are British. Some like Oliver Cromwell don't even belong here.

Sadly missing are men of science and learning who made the world better. Why no Benjamin Franklin or Jonas Salk? Why no Terry Fox or people whose courage inspires as much as their activities. While they deserve credit for the book introducing some ancient heroes, a more balance approach would have made for a better book.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of varied biographical vignettes that didn't quite meet my expectations as part of the 'Dangerous Book for Boys' series April 7 2010
By Jojoleb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In the Dangerous Book for BoysThe Dangerous Book For Boys --2008 publication., Conn and Hal Iggulden created created a new classic. Written in a style that was a throwback to the early 1900s, they resurrected and updated a lore for boys found in books like the original Boy Scout Handbook and the American Boy's Handy Book--a little archaic, a little politically incorrect, but timeless, and always amusing. The success of this book spawned the inevitable spin offs and sequels and the Igguldens joined the fray with some lesser 'Dangerous Boy' pocket books, kits, games, and even calenders.

The Dangerous Book of Heroes is the Igguldens' latest attempt to capitalize on their earlier success and as with most sequels it never quite makes the grade. It is essentially a series of mini-biographies of historical figures that the Igguldens feel were pivotal, heroic and whose stories can serve as an inspiration for the youth of today. This time, however, the Igguldens seemed bogged down by the archaic style that worked so well last time. Here, the use of language and tone makes these vignettes seem just a little too old fashioned and a little too long. Moreover, I still haven't figured out the intended age group for this book: the authors occasionally veer off into topics that are a little too grisly or scatological for the young reader; yet the content seems a little superficial for children in their early teens. That being said, the book is a worthy attempt to assemble biographies of historic figures that children can aspire to, it just never quite strikes the right chord.

The writing ranges in style from a sort of watered down 11th edition Encyclopedia Brittanicaesque to the kind of written for children biographies circa 1940 to 1960 that you might have borrowed from your public library as a kid. The biographies are complimented by pen and ink drawings that appropriately bring back that feeling of a bygone era. The level of detail is somewhat random, with George Washington at the top of the pack with 27 pages of narrative and the astronauts of Apollo 11 taking a large step for mankind at 7 pages. The shorter biographies held my interest more than the longer ones. The George Washington, Captain Cook, William Bligh, and Horatio Nelson vignettes suffered a little from laundry lists of accomplishments, battles, and/or ports of call.

Generally, however, the vignettes were serviceable encapsulations of the subjects lives. The best of the best, in my opinion, were those of Sitting Bull, the women of the SOE, Winston Churchill, and Harry Houdini. The authors were able to hold my attention by pointing out the remarkable and admirable characteristics of the heroes described, their major accomplishments, and interesting, lesser known facts about these heroes in a succinct and accessible fashion.

The reading level seems uneven to me, although it may well be that the choices of words used are more characteristic of a British child's vocabulary. Adults will have no problems here, but children ages 7 to 16 in the US may fall a little short. There is also a tacit understanding that the reader has a rudimentary knowledge of basic British history, the workings of the British government, military terminology, and relationships in the British monarchy. Here too, a child in the US might be at a bit of a loss.

The choice of the subjects for the biography was solely at the discretion of the authors, but some statistics are revealing. There are 36 vignettes in total, most are about individuals but some describe groups of people. 29 of the vignettes are exclusively about men and 5 of them are exclusively about women. Quickly counting, there appear to be 17+ Brits (it really depends on how you do the counting), 7 Americans, a single Native American, and a single African American. Asia is only represented by the Gurkhas and Tenzig Norgay (who shares the spotlight with the be-knighted New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary). Canadians everywhere will cheer for Billy Bishop, their single entry in the book. There is but one French woman, who was one of the women of the SOE. I couldn't find any Africans. There were no Muslims of note. Given the conspicuous absence of the word "boy" in the title of this book, I believe that the Igguldens were trying to attract a more diverse audience. However, the content of the biographies leans toward the white, British or American man and shows a glaring lack of diversity. That being said, an African would have as tough a time as a Spaniard or German in finding a hero herein to relate to. The Dangerous Book for Boys has been translated into many languages, I doubt that this will be the case for this title.

The authors are mostly successful in maintaining their characteristic tone, but sometimes the tone made me shudder. The most glaring reference occurred when the authors referred to one of the Alamo's defenders as "[Jim] Bowie's black freedman, Sam." I am sure that Sam was referred to in this manner in some older historical texts, but it would have been more appropriate to refer to Sam as Jim Bowie's hired servant. There are also references to sexual behavior, venereal disease, adultery, cannibalism, etc. that are certainly part of the history and would work for older readers, but if this book was intended for 7 to 10 year olds it would have been better to gloss over some of this.

All this being said, there is worthy and interesting information that can be found herein, but the book is simply not as universal or as classic as the Dangerous Book for Boys, and for this reason I was sadly disappointed. I did enjoy reading many of the biographies presented and do believe that they have a certain value to them. But this is not a book that I could recommend wholeheartedly as an extension of the authors' 'Dangerous Book' series and would suggest that you read the excerpts carefully before purchasing.

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