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Half American: The Heroic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

Half American: The Heroic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad cover

Half American: The Heroic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

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The definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective, by award-winning historian and civil rights expert

Winner of the 2023 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction 

A New York Times Notable Book of 2022

A 2022 Book of the Year from TIME, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and more

More than one million Black soldiers served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units while waging a dual battle against inequality in the very country for which they were laying down their lives. The stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored, cast aside in favor of the myth of the “Good War” fought by the “Greatest Generation.” And yet without their sacrifices, the United States could not have won the war.

Half American is World War II history as you’ve likely never read it before. In these pages are stories of Black military heroes and civil rights icons such as Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the leader of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, who fought to open the Air Force to Black pilots; Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer for the NAACP, who investigated and publicized violence against Black troops and veterans; poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a war correspondent for the Black press; Ella Baker, the civil rights leader who advocated on the home front for Black soldiers, veterans, and their families; and James G. Thompson, the twenty-six-year-old whose letter to a newspaper laying bare the hypocrisy of fighting against fascism abroad when racism still reigned at home set in motion the Double Victory campaign. Their bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism is both inspiring and galvanizing. An essential and meticulously researched retelling of the war, Half American honors the men and women who dared to fight not just for democracy abroad but for their dreams of a freer and more equal America.

Matthew F. Delmont is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth College. A Guggenheim Fellow and expert on African American history and the history of civil rights, he is the author of four books: Black Quotidian, Why Busing Failed, Making Roots, and The Nicest Kids in Town. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and several academic journals, and on NPR. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Delmont earned his BA from Harvard University and his MA and PhD from Brown University.

ISBN: 9781984880413

ISBN-10: 9781984880413

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: 01/09/2024 - 12:00am

On Sale: 01/09/2024 - 12:00am

Pages: 400

Language: English


History / Wars & Conflicts / World War II

History / African American & Black

Social Science / Ethnic Studies / American / African American & Black Studies