Books: Non-Fiction

Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

Book Non-fiction. By Matthew Delmont. 2022. 400 pages.
This book tells the stories of Black heroes during World War II and their bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism and fascism.
Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements

Over one million Black men and women served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units and performing unheralded but vital support jobs, only to be denied housing and educational opportunities on their return home. Without their crucial contributions to the war effort, the United States could not have won the war. And yet the stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored, cast aside in favor of the myth of the “Good War” fought by the “Greatest Generation.”

In the pages of Half American are stories of Black heroes such as Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer for the NAACP, who investigated and publicized violence against Black troops and veterans; Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., leader of the Tuskegee Airmen, who was at the forefront of the years-long fight to open the Air Force to Black pilots; Ella Baker, the civil rights leader who advocated on the home front for Black soldiers, veterans, and their families; James Thompson, the 26-year-old whose letter to a newspaper laying bare the hypocrisy of fighting against fascism abroad when racism still reigned at home set in motion the Double Victory campaign; and poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a war correspondent for the Black press. Their bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism is both inspiring and galvanizing. [Adapted from publisher’s description.]

ISBN: 9781984880390 | Viking

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