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LASTING VALOR, by Vernon J. Baker with Ken Olsen, Genesis Press, Inc., 309 pages, $24.95.

This memoir by the only living black World War II veteran to earn America’s highest distinction of valor, the Medal of Honor, focuses on the April 1945 battle for Castle Aghinolfi in northern Italy. Black and white photographs and maps assist in recreating the circumstances in which Lieutenant Baker and his comrades–part of the last U.S. segregated regiments to go to war–performed some of the most dramatic acts of courage by Americans fighting in the Mediterranean Theater during World War II. It was not until January 1997 that most Americans heard about the heroism of these soldiers, when President Clinton recognized six deceased veterans and one tearful survivor, Vernon Baker.