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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read, full of flavor and relatively rich in content
Armed service of African-Americans is one of the least covered topics in the greater realm of WWII historiography. This is quite unfortunate as the number of African-Americans to proudly and honorably serve the US armed forces in the Second World War was not trivial. Nor was their contribution to the Allied war effort trivial. While most African-Americans served in...
Published on April 4, 2006 by Mannie Liscum

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A social history
Patton's Panthers covers a segment of the oft neglected roles of Black combat troops in WWII. These men often fought a two front war against German bullets and American prejudice.

Unfortunately, this book does make some glaring errors. For one, it perpetuates the false claim that German tanks were powered by diesel engines when, in fact, they used gasoline just...
Published on April 26, 2008 by Justin Bittick


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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read, full of flavor and relatively rich in content, April 4, 2006
By 
Mannie Liscum (Columbia, MO United States) - See all my reviews
Armed service of African-Americans is one of the least covered topics in the greater realm of WWII historiography. This is quite unfortunate as the number of African-Americans to proudly and honorably serve the US armed forces in the Second World War was not trivial. Nor was their contribution to the Allied war effort trivial. While most African-Americans served in service and support units in the segregated US services of the 1930-40's, there were a small number of all African-American combat units, and by the end of the war a few integrated units (although integration occurred on a platoon rather than individual basis as occurred with white soldiers), that served with equal, if not greater, distinction to all white units. Fortunately for all Americans the past few years have brought a number of historiographies of the contributions of African-American soldiers to the Allied victory in WWII, both in Europe and Asia. `Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion in World War II' by Charles W. Sasser is a solid contribution to this growing literature that anyone interested in WWII and/or issues of segregation/race relations in the middle of the 20th Century should pick up.

Not only does `Patton's Panthers' deal with a historical issue worthy of coverage but it does so with flair. Sasser's writing style is quite easy to follow and he presents material with literary flavor. While this makes the reading fun and informative at the same time, much in the same way Stephen Ambrose, John Keeghan, Cornelius Ryan, and John Toland's works function, Sasser's style goes a bit beyond that of the aforementioned authors. Two aspects of Sasser's approach to `Patton's Panthers' are particularly noteworthy in this context:

First, it may take authors a while to get used to the `frank' language Sasser uses to present the stories. Not only are curse words frequent, but also political correctness is often left in the editing room. Sasser rarely refers to the soldiers at the center of the story as African-Americans but rather Negroes. It is not entirely clear that Sasser did not do this in fact for visceral impact - most culturally-enlightened individuals prefer to use African-American as a term to denote people of color - since the first half of the book is peppered with Negro and Negroes, while in the latter half use of this more derogatory term becomes much less frequent. This reviewer certainly recoiled at the free use of the term Negro(es), but right or wrong this approach did help to highlight emotionally the more important issues of bigotry and discrimination that these warriors experienced. Somehow by being more `politically incorrect' Sasser may have actually been able to drive home more clearly the morally correct issue of race tolerance and brotherhood that we should all strive for.

The second aspect of Sasser's writing approach that stood out to this reviewer was the way in which nearly all the `recollections' of the African-American soldiers presented read like a stereotypical screen play of uneducated son's of poor southern African-American sharecroppers. Again this seems to have been done for `affect' as Sasser states very clearly in his `Author's Notes': "...I have had to rely on numerous sources to fill gaps left by memory and official record. Also, using my own knowledge and experience with war and men at war, I have had to improvise and to necessarily re-create scenes and dialog in certain instances...I strive to match personalities with the situation and the action while maintaining factual content." Either a majority of African-American soldiers in the 761st actually spoke the way Sasser wrote their dialog or other authors who have recounted the exploits of the 761st, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Joe Wilson Jr. (both African-Americans themselves, the latter's father was in the 761st), have excessively `cleaned up' the dialog. It is likely that reality is somewhere in between. Yet this reviewer believes that latter two authors' recounting of combat dialog and reminiscences are probably more representative and that Sasser's self-admitted alteration was done for affect. Please do not read into either of these criticisms anything prejudice on the part of Sasser. This reviewer feels that Sasser has approached this topic fairly and thoroughly, and deserves credit for bringing to light (again) the exploits of these brave soldiers who have been forgotten, even denied, by their countrymen. Rather the reader should simply be aware that Sasser's writing style has potentially taken wide liberty to pull the reader into the story and human drama by drawing on stereotypes and visceral hot buttons.

All in all `Patton's Panther's a solid historical piece of work that is also a thoroughly enjoyable read. The bonus a reader gets is a rich human story of the contrasts between the lives of bigotry and inequality these African-American men lived in the United States before and after the war versus the equally scary, sacrificial, and heroic lives they shared with their white brethren in combat in NW Europe. 4.5 Stars!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A social history, April 26, 2008
By 
Justin Bittick (Cottonwood, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
Patton's Panthers covers a segment of the oft neglected roles of Black combat troops in WWII. These men often fought a two front war against German bullets and American prejudice.

Unfortunately, this book does make some glaring errors. For one, it perpetuates the false claim that German tanks were powered by diesel engines when, in fact, they used gasoline just like American tanks. The author also seems to imply that all German Tiger tanks were armed with 128mm guns (only the very rare jagdTigers were so armed). The old bit of Shermans burning when hit it also beat to death when in fact the 761st were equipped with Shermans using wet stowage. The chances of such Shermans burning were actually quite low. There is also a story of a sergeant firing his .50 caliber machinegun from the hip--personally I would like to meet the man could fire a .50 from the hip (perhaps the auther meant a .30?, which is attested to in many accounts). The author also spends a lot of time with the love story of the battalion's CO and a nurse (the CO was wounded and not present with the battalion until the near the end of the war).

Patton's Panthers is not so much a military history as a social history. Individual stories are the strong point of this book as the men speak of their fears, courage, desires and, of course, racism. The author points out that the white officers with the battalion also had to face contempt and abuse for being part of a Black unit. The story of the ill-fated Sergeant Rivers is both compelling in his courage and commitment. The abuse the men faced by their own army is broken up with touching acts of Blacks and Whites saving one another or dying in the attempt. The court martial of Jackie Robinson is a fine touch for the book. The book's ending offers one a glimmer of hope. A wonderful touch is at the end of those chapters where Panthers gave their lives, the author lists their names in honor of their memories. Very few writers bother to do so.

Read Patton's Panthers for its social value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gratifying, February 18, 2012
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II by Sasser is an inspiring story about a group of African American soldiers in World War II, who despite their disadvantaged positions fought bravely for their country which at the time hardly recognized or appreciated their services. In battle, these dedicated soldiers had to confront the Nazi and Fascist armies as well as the racist attitudes of some white officers who were sometimes responsible for the battalion going into combat without all the necessary equipment or training.

This belated tribute and public recognition comes as a soothing acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by the Tank Battalion in World War II , which is the first African-American armored unit to enter combat and holds one of the few records of continuous unbroken service during the war, spear-heading Gen. George Patton's drives. They captured 30 towns and liberated concentration camps, and gave the African American soldiers an honorable place in the US army. Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II, Disciples of Fortune, The Key to Rebecca are the books I enjoyed last month. I like stories with the touch of that historical era.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave Men - American Heroes, March 9, 2005
By 
Neal Bellet (Wayne, New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
Patton's Panthers by Charles Sasser is a good book about the African-American 761st Tank Battalion that fought in World War II. I also read Brothers In Arms by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar which covered the same subject matter and found this book to be much easier to follow. The book takes us from training up to the end of the war, and the only constant during this entire time was the way these fine men were treated by many of their fellow soldiers, nurses who were supposed to care for them, fellow citizens, and many of the commanding officers of the Army. Even the mainstream press of the day would bypass the 761st in order to write about only white soldiers in their stories. With that background, it is understandable, although extremely unfortunate that the men of the 761st had to wait so long to be recognized for what they did, and how well they did it. They fought hard and long and did everything that was asked of them and more, yet were still treated like second class citizens by many. A prime example of this was when one of the men of the 761st, upon arriving home with a chest full of medals, and despite all that he had been through, was still told by the driver to move to the back of the bus. This is a book that should be read by all. The only shortcomings were two obvious historical inaccuracies. The first one has Lt. General Leslie McNair being killed by the Germans when he was killed by friendly fire. The second one has General Patton carrying pearl-handled pistols. His pistols were ivory-handled.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book! Well worth reading!, January 2, 2007
This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
I've been reading a lot of books about WWII lately, by Stephen Ambrose (Citizen Soldiers), James Bradley (Flags of our Fathers), etc. Patton's Panthers by Charles Sasser fits well in this genre of writting. Sasser has done an excellent job making a book that's very interesting to read. He has done extensive research and then taken that research and compiled it into a narrative well worth reading. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a different America, February 11, 2005
This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
Sasser provides an inspiring tale of duty and sacrifice. By a group of soldiers for a nation that barely knew or appreciated their devotion.

Some other groups of Negro combatants in World War 2 have been fairly well known. Like the Tuskegee pilots. But few readers might have hitherto known of this accomplished tank battalion.

Sasser writes of a thankfully different America. The casual and pervasive racism described in page after page is now mostly history. What some readers might find especially infuriating is some of the descriptions of the combat experiences in Europe. Where racist attitudes amongst white officers often caused the battalion to enter combat with less equipment or training than white units.

The book is timely, and long overdue. Many of the soldiers who served in the battalion have died. The book gives them and the survivors some belated public recognition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn fine book, February 15, 2008
By 
S. Epperson (Houston Texas,USA) - See all my reviews
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I am a 1978-82 era tanker....these guys deserve their day in the Sun....flyboys get all the glory! *wink*

Someone needs make a movie about them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Patton panthers, July 12, 2014
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
The book tell the story real good of a great fighting unit
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4.0 out of 5 stars good author and read, February 11, 2014
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
Og mandino , see web page, see book store list , good read, thought provoking
bless spirit, mind, and help you understand others
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5.0 out of 5 stars Belated Recognition, July 7, 2013
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James S. Ford (San Antonio, TX) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II (Paperback)
While much attention has been giving (deservedly) to the Red Tails, the all black American fighter squadron, little is known about the equally heroic efforts of the all black 761st Tank Battalion in WWII. In spite of the strong bias against Negro troops that engendered low expectations from superior officers, these men set out to prove they were as good fighting men as any who wore the uniform of the U.S. Army. They achieved outstanding results---fighting their way from France to Austria, they engaged over 6,000 of the enemy in 183 days of constant combat, through six European countries, capturing 30 towns, and liberating Jews from NAZI death camps. Charles W. Sasser paints vivid pictures with his prose and is particularly deft at portraying the emotions of these brave men in the individual personal accounts that appear throughout the book. It caused me to reflect back on my own experiences with men of different backgrounds in my years of service in the U.S. Army.
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Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II
Patton's Panthers: The African-American 761st Tank Battalion In World War II by Charles W. Sasser (Paperback - February 1, 2005)
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