Twice Forgotten: African Americans and the Korean War, an Oral History

Univ. of North Carolina. Jan. 2022. 416p. ISBN 9781469664538. $30. HIST
In 1948, President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 ordered the desegregation of the U.S. military. In this exceptionally researched volume, Cline (history, San Diego State Univ.; From Reconciliation to Revolution) shows that the act of desegregating was far more complicated than expected. The author has compiled interviews from Black American veterans of the Korean War (1950–53), the first conflict fought by an integrated U.S. military. These interviews shed light on their experiences during and after the war and reveal that desegregation of the military was a patchwork process implemented at different rates, largely depending on the decisions of local commanders. In addition to all the challenges of war, Cline’s interview subjects faced additional hardships due to discrimination. Readers will appreciate the wide variety of voices represented, including various military branches as well as officers and enlisted men and women from different regions of the United States. Among the prominent interview subjects are Congressmen John Conyers and Charles Rangel.
VERDICT This is an essential, insightful read on an often-overlooked subject, for those interested in military history and African American history.
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