Be a Hero

By Lukie Marriott

The world is full of admirable heroes and it's very possible that you are one yourself or could be. These books and film documentaries are all true stories about people from around the world who've acted heroically, no matter how young or outnumbered, nor how insurmountable the situation may seem. Be inspired!

  • Women of Valor : Polish Resisters to the Third Reich

    2016 by Joanne D Gilbert

    Author and educator Gilbert relates the inspiring life stories of four girls (one as young as seven) who defied the Nazis. Most resistance fighters perished during the war. This work is unique in that these girls survived and, as elderly women, were able to tell their stories of resistance, which included sabotage, fighting, stealing, document forgery, and more. Talk about courage!

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  • Beyond the Call : The True Story of one World War II Pilot's Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front

    2015 by Lee Trimble

    In this largely unknown aspect of WWII, Trimble writes of his father's courageous rescue of allied soldiers in the last months of the war. The Soviets viewed the ex-POWs as potential spies and cowards, and abandoned them without shelter or food. With little covert training, Air Force bomber pilot Trimble risked encounters with the Soviet secret police, saving hundreds of lives.

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  • Forgotten : The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at War

    2015 by Linda Hervieux

    Depictions of the shores of Normandy on D-Day are typically feature only white men, but the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion was an African-American unit, one of whose members was nominated for the Medal of Honor. Forgotten tells the story of these heroic men who suffered Jim Crow discrimination and whose contribution to the war has been unjustly overlooked.

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  • Geronimo : Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior

    2014 by Mike Leach

    The Apache leader, whose name is synonymous with courage, earned the respect of his enemies even as they hunted him down. In fact, his tactics were so admired they were copied by the U.S. military. Leach describes the qualities and events that make Geronimo the most brilliant Indian military leader who won victories against all odds.

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  • The 15:17 to Paris

    2016 by Anthony Sadler

    In August of 2015, three young men who had been friends since boyhood, in an incredible act of unity and courage, stopped a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train. Had the attacker not been stopped, with the amount of ammunition he had, he could have killed everyone on board. This dramatic story magnificently shows how the courage of ordinary citizens can save lives.

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  • King Leopold's Ghost : A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

    1999 by Adam Hochschild

    When Belgium colonized the Congo, King Leopold II committed heinous crimes with the eventual genocide of between eight and ten million Congolese. In opposition to this monster, a handful of brave missionaries, travelers, writers (Mark Twain and Joseph Conrad among them), and others who witnessed the atrocities, spoke out and began the first great humanitarian movement of the 20th century.

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  • Natural Born Heroes : How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

    2015 by Christopher McDougall

    What does it take to be a hero? McDougall compares the physical and mental capacities of ancient Greeks with the story of a superhuman achievement in Crete during World War II to inspire and awaken modern day heroes. This is a fast-paced, absorbing work that shows how heroism can be mastered.

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  • Prescription Pot : A Leading Advocate's Heroic Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana

    2003 by George McMahon

    Back in 2003, McMahon was one of only seven people in the United States who was able to use medical marijuana legally. Suffering from a very painful genetic disorder, he crusaded tirelessly to legalize medical marijuana, for which First Lady Nancy Reagan awarded him the Certificate of Heroism. The debate over legalization continues today. Those who experience chronic pain need heroes like George McMahon.

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  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell


    This documentary tells the astonishing story of a joint Muslim and Christian women's peace movement during the Second Liberian Civil War that, after two and a half years, succeeded in restoring peace. Not only did the women persist in their silent protest amidst violent clashes, but they oversaw negotiations to cement the deal, leading to total disarmament. Their efforts have inspired other African women to mobilize for peace. What a testament to the power of protest!

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  • The Interrupters

    2012 by Steve James

    This on-the-ground documentary follows three Violence Interrupters with Project Ceasefire as they literally interrupt violence in the making on Chicago's south side. Former gang members themselves, the three featured interrupters talk the talk and walk the walk, fearlessly jumping into seriously lethal situations and de-escalating them. Kudos to the camera crews too!

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  • Diary of an Eco-outlaw : An Unreasonable Woman Breaks the Law for Mother Earth

    2011 by Diane Wilson

    Diane Wilson is a dynamo of environmental and social justice and peace activism, starting with sinking her own shrimping boat to stop a plastics company from polluting her bay. She has been jailed more than 50 times for civil disobedience and founded CODEPINK, a women's anti-war group. As Bernard Shaw wrote, "All progress depends on unreasonable women."

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  • Oil and Honey : The Education of an Unlikely Activist

    2013 by Bill McKibben

    Founder of the environmental group, and an environmental activist for 25 years, McKibben describes what it took to launch a gutsy, effective protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2011. A proponent of both local and global action, McKibben shows how it's often ordinary citizens who can most successfully make a difference.

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  • Living In Emergency

    2011 by Mark Hopkins

    This unflinching but highly inspiring documentary follows four volunteers with Doctors Without Borders as they struggle to provide emergency medical care under extreme conditions in the Congo and Liberia. Valiant effort against great odds characterizes these selfless individuals.

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