by Bryan D. Booker
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2008. Pp. viii, 358.
Illus, append., notes., biblio., index. $75.00. ISBN: 0786431954
A concise look at the role of black Americans in the Army during the Second World War.
Prof. Booker (St. Augustine’s College, N.C.) opens this work with a short look at the role of "Colored" troops during the First World War and in the interwar period. He then reminds us of the prevailing attitudes of white Americans, civilian as well as military, about the desirability of having African Americans serve, with the contingent excuses for exclusion, as well as the role of the black press in keeping the issue alive, thus providing background for what would become wider participation in the Second World War. There follows an often detailed treatment of how black Americans, women as well as men, served, often with great -- if neglected -- distinction, despite frequent open hostility from their white comrades and superiors, an often hostile mainstream press, widespread abuses at the hands of the white public. The approach to the subject is essentially by arm of service; that is, the role of African Americans in combat service support units, the artillery, separate infantry regiments, armored forces, and the three largely black divisions (2nd Cavalry and 92nd and 93rd Infantry), as well as the men who in the volunteered for infantry duty during the crisis of the Bulge and served more or less integrated in all white units.
Refreshingly free of the stridency of many works on the subject, this book would be rewarding reading those interested in the integration of the U.S. Army as well as for anyone interested in the army in the Second World War.