From Publishers Weekly
The Allied victory in WWII was a triumph of logistics as well as combat power. Moore (Jubilee: The Emergence of African American Culture
) looks deeply and broadly into those efforts and comes up with a major addition to the literature. He finds African-American units building the lion's share of the logistical infrastructure in Europe and the Pacific, as well as transporting everything from artillery pieces to bottles of plasma. Among combat units, the familiar Tuskegee Airmen and the Black Panthers of the 761st Tank Battalion are here, but so are the 93rd Infantry Division, which never fought as a unit in the Pacific, and the 92nd Infantry, much maligned for one failure in an otherwise respectable record in Italy. African-American WACS saved the European theater's mail system from total chaos. A great many black Americans who served endured incidents of racial discrimination; Moore vividly depicts their coping strategies. The son of two WWII veterans who met in Europe, Moore contributes a somewhat rambling essay on the development of his own racial identity, but scores of letters and photographs counterbalance that minor deficiency.
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Moore's painstaking research and personal history (his parents met while serving in the military in World War II) add enormously to this tribute to the contributions of black soldiers during that war. Moore focuses on the reluctance, and even resistance, to send black troops into military service, based on the myth of their incompetence and cowardice. Thus, black soldiers fought the war on two fronts--at home and abroad. When the war effort required the deployment of black troops, they were originally assigned only support roles of preparing roads and getting supplies to advancing troops, but they proved themselves to be brave fighters as their roles evolved into combat. Moore highlights individuals who distinguished themselves in the war, drawing on previously unpublished materials from individual soldiers and black platoons. Moore chronicles the bravery of the troops as well as their struggles for equality at home, where they continued to be treated as second-class citizens. Photos, newspaper clippings, and letters add to the rich portrayal of the heroic service by black soldiers during World War II. Vernon FordCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved