African American War Heroes

ABC-CLIO. 2014. 232p. ed. by . photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781610693653. $89; ebk. ISBN 9781610693660. REF
Here in one concise volume is a collection of biographical profiles of 80 African American war heroes, covered in one-and-a-half to two-page-long summaries each. The basics, such as date and place of birth, are included, as are details regarding when the person joined the military and the acts of valor performed. Each biography concludes with information about what the person did during peacetime (if that individual was not killed in combat). Major conflicts, such as World War I and World War II, are represented, along with less-well-covered events (the Indian Wars, the Spanish American War). The inclusion of direct quotes adds heart-wrenching candor to the narratives. Fred Cherry, for example, a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, recounts a bone-scraping, sans-anesthesia surgery he endured at the hands of the enemy: "[The North Vietnamese] had my face covered with a sheet. And they kept raising it to see if I'm going to beg for mercy, going to scream. And each time they looked down at me, I would look up at them and smile." The authors do a great job of pointing out the additional challenges faced by African American combatants—segregation, lack of respect from peers and commanders, no recognition for services rendered, and so on. One major flaw—the only woman in the book is Harriet Tubman.
VERDICT Aside from this major omission, this is an outstanding resource.
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