This Medal of Honor recipient’s heroism didn’t end with his war

A new book detailing the life of Army Master Sgt. Roy Perez Benavidez examines the complicated legacy of a man who could trace his ancestry back to Texas before it was a state and who faced discrimination even after receiving the nation’s highest award for military valor.

William Sturkey, an associate history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has focused much of his research and writing on marginalized communities. He found Benavidez’s story, one that bridged major racial shifts in the United States during the tumultuous 20th Century, as emblematic of the Latino community’s struggle for acceptance and success in America.

Sturkey’s book, “The Ballad of Roy Benavidez: The Life and Times of America’s Most Famous Hispanic War Hero,” published in June by Basic Books, dives into the Medal of Honor recipient’s life before, during and after his service and what Sturkey thinks it says about wider issues within marginalized populations.

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