Because history is everything that ever happened, from every war to every love affair, the untold stories that turn expectations upside down are the ones worth exploring, Beyer said. And because what we care about at 26 or 36 differs greatly from the portrait of our interest at 16, discovering history for the first time a decade or two after high school can make those stories even more important.
That is what Davis, Beyer and Martin aim to remind us with their books, bursting with the people and places lost to time and rekindled in lifelike detail. Every good story is one worth retelling, and our own history is full of them, many filled with the undeniable spirit and tenacity of the patriotic principles we learn from myths.
"There really are two large categories of heroes," Martin said of his book's title. "Most of us think of someone as a hero who risks their life when there is some immediate danger -- a soldier rescuing a fellow on the battlefield.
"But the other type of hero is one who simply perseveres, who overcomes overwhelming odds, even if it might take an entire lifetime."