- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 1130L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; New title edition (December 27, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006001136X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060011369
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,643,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Harlem Hellfighters: When Pride Met Courage Hardcover – December 27, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-In writing this account of the 369th Infantry Regiment from New York City, Myers was joined by Miles, a documentary filmmaker and official historian of the group that came to be known as the Harlem Hellfighters in the early 20th century. The authors begin with an explanation of the racial conditions and wartime roles of African Americans throughout history, describe the regiment's establishment and development, and then focus on its role in World War I. As a whole, the text is disappointing and often frustrating. It lacks excitement and urgency to convey the import of these history-making soldiers or to engage readers, and there aren't many tools to enable report writers, such as an index or time line. The many archival photographs are interesting, but unfortunately they are undated and poorly captioned. Nor are there any helpful maps of the many integral locations and troop movement in the U.S. and Europe. Questionable logic and unsubstantiated opinion also call the historical soundness into question. For example, the statement that Marriage can be difficult for anyone, but for a young man without an education the pressures can be unbearable, prefaces one soldier's decision to do his duty and join up. Later, German soldiers' thoughts and feelings are presented as fact and, other than a limited Selected Bibliography, there is no documentation. Abruptly, the war ends and the book concludes with a chapter called Heroes and Men that doesn't sufficiently convey the lasting impact of the Hellfighters. Students need a book about these brave, groundbreaking, and noble men, but this is not the one.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL
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Gr. 5-8. Myers collaborated with historian and documentary filmmaker Miles to create this nonfiction tribute to the 369th Infantry Regiment, comprised entirely of African American soldiers (many from Harlem), who fought in World War I. After providing an abbreviated history of African Americans in the military and a brief introduction about the causes of the war, Myers traces the roots of the regiment, from its origin as the 15th New York National Guard and the unit's basic training in South Carolina through the soldiers' active combat at the side of the French, who treated the troops as equals. The authors emphasize the mixed message African Americans received about their military service: "On the one hand, they were being trained to risk their lives in defense of the country, while on the other hand they were being told to accept their role as inferior citizens." The clear prose; effective use of white space; and numerous, often full-page black-and-white photographs will attract reluctant readers while enticing more dedicated history buffs to follow up with one of the adult titles from the selected bibliography. Jennifer Hubert
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved