Who's your hero? Authors hope to inspire youngsters

Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:07pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Most people know Florence Nightingale and Horatio Nelson but what about British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes or World War Two hero Nancy Wakes, also known as "The White Mouse?"

Realizing that some heroes from history were being forgotten or misplaced, authors Conn and David Iggulden set out to bring these figures back to life as well as highlight some modern heroes in a book covering the lives of 42 extraordinary people.

They were concerned that heroes had been ditched from school curricula, leaving the younger generation without inspirational role models.

"In schools in Britain and Australia they are just not teaching these people any more in history, partly because it's not PC (politically correct) and partly because of changes to the curriculum," Australian-based David Iggulden told Reuters.

"People now do not know how amazing someone like Nelson was. This takes away an icon to inspire people to be better, to rise to difficult situations, and the younger generation is losing its way without strong role models."

Iggulden said the book, "The Dangerous Book of Heroes," included some major figures of history but also some lesser known people to demonstrate that anyone can be a hero.

Take the story of Lisa Potts, a former British nursery teacher, who was faced with a machete-wielding schizophrenic in the playground at her Wolverhampton school in England in 1996.

Despite suffering horrific injuries herself, Potts, then 21, kept returning to the playground to rescue 18 children.   Continued...