Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Worthy all the way around
on May 7, 2014
Like a lot of people, I am really looking forward to a day when we can stop referring to important parts of American history as "Black" history and simply recognize that it is all "American" history. And while I'm not holding my breath, I hope that day is soon so that a book as wonderful as The Harlem Hellfighters will be read by a wide and all-inclusive audience. The book is wonderful fictionalization of an important event and people that is generally relegated to an afterthought or footnote. In that sense alone, this is an important work.
That being said, and out of the way, it is also a terrific work of historical fiction where the words and pictures work together to create a seamless and moving whole.
I have never previously read any of Brooks' work, though it has been recommended to my from time to time, but if this is any indication, I will likely be reading more in the future. This story is well-paced, involving - wrenching in many places - and his main characters live and breathe and never fall into stock ciphers or cardboard cutouts.
Which is also a reflection of the art here. The action sequences are suitably chaotic without ever becoming confusing, and the quieter moments are illuminating, as well. The details are telling and apt (a well-placed wink plays an important part in a character's development, for example) and the grim mood never becomes morose or bathetic.
I am very glad that I read a review of this (in a different forum) that pointed me to this worthy book. I hope that this review, as well as the other fine and more detailed reviews here, pique others to pick this up and be transported into an important chapter of American history. Highly recommended.