THE BUFFALO SOLDIERS IN THE INDIAN WARS by Fairfax Downey

THE BUFFALO SOLDIERS IN THE INDIAN WARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Buffalo Soldiers are the Negro cavalry chronicled recently in Marian T. Place's Rifles and War Bonnets (1968, p. 523, J-199), a far more rigorous examination of the circumstances of the Indian Wars and of blacks in post-Emancipation military service. Mr. Downey, who is interested in the cavalry and conflict per se, notes instances of individual heroism and group tenacity, but he dwells at such length and in such detail on the qualifications and actions of the white officers that the book becomes their story at least as much as their men's. And he lauds them repeatedly for lack of prejudice, a common flaw of white-centered history. At the same time his account of the second-rate treatment accorded the Negro regiments initially is less probing than Mrs. Place's; he views with regret, she sets forth in detail. Similarly, her glimpses of the blacks being black are more telling than his quotes testifying to their good-natured demeanor. As a consecutive, coherent history, hers has a big edge also; events are more fully developed and seen in broader context. Since both aim roughly at the same age level, Place places first.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1969
Publisher: McGraw-Hill