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Divided Arsenal: Race and the American State During World War II Paperback – Bargain Price, January 29, 2001

ISBN-10: 0521004586

Price: $2.89
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521004586
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,670,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a scorching scrutiny of African-Americans' wartime experience on the home front during WWII, MIT political science professor Kryder asserts that Franklin Roosevelt's administration did more to correct racial injustice than had any post-Civil War presidency. Nevertheless, charges Kryder, FDR's race policies, while appearing progressive, co-opted protest and served to maintain rather than undermine segregation, because this expedient wartime president's overriding concerns were reelection for the Democratic Party and full mobilization of industrial production. To combat widespread discrimination in defense training, in vocational programs, war-related factory production and federal contracts, FDR in 1941 established the Fair Employment Practices Committee. He also appointed a "Black Cabinet," i.e., a handful of black federal appointees in key advisory roles in industry and the armed services. Yet these measures, focusing on the resolution of individual grievances, were viewed by militant African-American leaders as a mere buffer to pacify blacks rather than to fully integrate them. When black protest escalated, the army defused rebellion within the ranks--by shipping black troops overseas. But in 1943, after insurrections by mistreated black soldiers in Georgia, Texas, Kentucky and California, the War Department invented new policies to prevent or control racial disruptions. These included surveillance, desegregation of post facilities and transport vehicles, and an anti-prejudice indoctrination campaign. Yet FDR's piecemeal reforms, concludes Kryder in this illuminating scholarly study, both energized and subverted the nascent movement for racial equality, creating bureaucratic channels that acted to detour the mass agitation which, two decades later, would secure civil rights. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The title of this otherwise commendable piece of scholarship is misleading--rather than discussing race relations broadly, the book focuses more narrowly on relations between African Americans and the federal government. Philosophically and historically, Kryder (political science, MIT) bases his analysis on Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944). During World War II, he notes, the U.S. government needed to mobilize African American factory workers, farm laborers, and soldiers for the war effort. This, public officials decided, required, in part, some limited racial reform; it also required coercion to achieve the greater good. Kryder does an excellent job of examining the causes and effects of wartime race management and seeks to develop a broader understanding of how government regulates social differences in war. In doing so, to his credit, he avoids simplistic racial arguments and provides an insightful and unique analysis of this period. Highly recommended for academic libraries.
-Daniel D. Liestman, Hale Lib., Kansas State Univ., Manhattan
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This surveys racial climate in America during World War II, an era which led to the reform of federal racial policies - a reform which proved limited at best. This considers the wartime role of blacks in the army and at home, considering both government goals and how limited racial reforms served larger federal concerns. An intriguing alternative survey of why reforms were so limited.
Diane C. Donovan Reviewer
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