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The Tuskegee Airmen: Black Heroes of World War II Hardcover – January, 1996
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up?Harris's well-researched book is as much a mid-20th century history of race relations in the U.S. as it is an account of the Tuskegee Airmen. The author's unbiased treatment of the Army Air Corps' original all-black unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, and of the courageous leadership of Benjamin O. Davis, make compelling reading. Harris begins with an investigation into the tribulations of the pioneers of black aviation and the institutionalized racism during and after World War I. The inception of the Tuskegee Experiment in 1941, as the Air Corps referred to it, and the combat-pilot training skills the airmen received are described in some detail. Interspersed throughout the text are personal testimonies and journal entries that give insight into the realities of wartime and homefront existence for the airmen and their families. In the chapter "Blacks and Whites Together," the author writes about the efforts that finally brought about the integration of the Air Force under its first secretary, Stuart Symington. Harris includes the later successes of Benjamin O. Davis, Charles McGee, and other black airmen. This book is an important inclusion in middle-school libraries as it outlines a chapter in black history that students are clamoring for. Numerous well-positioned black-and-white photographs, maps, and drawings are included on the attractive, well-designed pages.?Sylvia V. Meisner, Allen Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6^-9. Harris recounts the story of African American aviators who fought against prejudice in the U.S. in order to become fighter pilots during World War II. She discusses early black fliers and their difficulties recruiting others, which eventually led to the formation of the all-black Ninety-ninth Fighter Squadron. The group trained near Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and eventually flew many successful missions in and around the Mediterranean. Harris emphasizes how racial intolerances prevalent at the time (as well as governmental insistence on separate facilities for blacks and whites) sometimes hindered the team's operation. She also describes the successful postwar efforts to fully integrate the military and includes excerpts from several first-person accounts of the squadron's activities. Illustrated with numerous black-and-white photographs and appended with a bibliography of sources, this will make an excellent introduction to a frequently neglected chapter in American history. Kay Weisman
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Top customer reviews
Jacqueline L. Harris
In the book, The Tuskegee Airmen, there were several times when I was touched by the actions of the characters. The book was about a group of black men, "minorities," who were discriminated by the white commanding officers in the Unites States Air Force. Throughout the book, it talks about the struggles of the black men who just wanted to fly and serve for their country. Nobody wants these black men to be pilots, but towards the end of the book, on one of their last missions they were recommended as great flyers by white men who once discriminated against them.
What I liked about the book was that the men never gave up when everybody that they met would put them down, even their black commanding pilot. They showed courage even when their own friends that they had met were killed in combat or even killed themselves. They also showed honor, being that they felt and knew that they were Americans trying to serve for their country, when everyone else was just looking at them like some kind of ignorant black people.
What I disliked about the book was all of the racism going on at the time. The black pilots were just like any other pilots, but treated different because of their skin color. Throughout the book, the few black pilots who were outnumbered by the many white pilots still held their heads up strong and continued with their dreams of fighting for their country, and that was another thing that I liked.