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The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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-Gilbert Taylor for Booklist
"A fine account of a little-known milestone in the battle for civil rights."
“In The Color of War, James Campbell masterfully juxtaposes two searing WWII experiences—one white, one black, one justly praised, one unjustly ignored--in a riveting story that makes your emotions, your indignation, and your adrenaline flow. To know what these soldiers—who are so thoughtfully rendered here—have done and suffered and sacrificed for you and me is to be inspired to prove worthy and do better. This will be a classic war book. “
–Dean King, author of Skeletons On The Zahara and Unbound
“The Color of War is a textured narrative that deftly explores two titanic struggles—one for the pacific, the other for African American equality at home. In James Campbell’s sure hands, we come to see—and more important, to feel—how fundamental freedoms are often born in the most explosive of events.”
–Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Hellhound On His Trail
“James Campbell’s powerful account of what happened instead is a[n]…important chapter of American history, too little known until now.”
“The author writes with feeling and authority about an often neglected chapter of World War II history.“
–Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps
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Top Customer Reviews
The battle of Saipan is told with the personalization of the men who served. We read of the filth, the fear, the stench, the heartbreak, sounds, jungle rot and thirst. The unbelievable heroic demeanor of the men is told in a detailed but yet interesting fashion. We learn of the different methods of marine fighting and the army's. The integration, as little as it was, of blacks into the marines is described.
Port Chicago is an infamous moment in naval history. Black naval personal that had been given no specialized training to load dangerous ammunition worked long shifts and had constant increases in total tonnage to be loaded. Coast Guard and longshoreman's recommendations on safety and inspection are ignored until the final inevitable moment when the ammunition explodes with almost the force of the atomic bomb; the explosion is not dwelt upon. Instead the court martial trial of 50 of the men who did not go back to loading ammunition is the focus. Again detailed information is given in an interesting manner. As with the marines on Saipan, we are introduced to individuals who load the ammunition and their stories which give a personalization to this maddening and sad event of WWII.
This story seems to be told in a non-exploitive way, with the facts and not the sensationalism of some other Port Chicago accounts.Read more ›
If truth is the first casualty of war, Campbell has restored truth to its proper place in this part of WW II history. That he contrasts the disaster and its aftermath with what was happening to the solders and sailors whose lives depended on the armament that Port Chicago shipped serves to clarify just how important Port Chicago was to the war effort and to winning in the Pacific theater. It also serves to mystify us, in hindsight, as to why the Navy didn't take greater measures to maintain safety, given the depot's critical importance.Read more ›
I had to wait three years for Campbell's next book, The Color of War. This is two books, perhaps three if you count the robust end-noting, rolled into one. It contrasts the life of the African American sailors and Marines with their white counterparts as the Pacific War unfolds. For the African American servicemen it is a Jim Crow world resigned to menial labor work. For the segregated Marines it is a gritty battle in the Mariana Islands armed by the munitions loaded onto liberty ships by black sailors in California. Campbell compares and contrasts the social battle for equality in the US Military with the battle raging in the Pacific. He connects the dots from California to Saipan. The climaxing event is the Port Chicago explosion and mutiny trial of 50 black sailors.
Having grown up in California, less than 500 miles from Port Chicago in the San Francisco Bay, I had never heard of the explosion or the mutiny. This well told story is great book. It uncovers the pre-integration world of the U.S. Military. Campbell tells an epic narrative that is largely ignored in WWII literature. The Color of War is a thoroughly researched and engrossing book. Kudos to Campbell.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jmes Campbell presents the facts from the Affrican American perspective in the sork. It is clear that he has done his homework.Published on April 18, 2013 by George Pravda
The subtitle put me off from reading this book until I learned it also covered the Port Chicago disaster. Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by David Marxer
IF YOUR A WORLD WAR 11 JUNKIE LIKE ME...THIS BOOK IS VERY EXCITING TO READ....A MUST FOR HISTORY BUFFS .......YOU WILL ENJOY THIS BOOK...Published on January 2, 2013 by Ed Rich