SEGREGATED SKIES

ALL-BLACK COMBAT SQUADRONS OF WORLD WAR II

An expert recounting of the Tuskegee Airmen, the four all- black fighter squadrons that pioneered the desegregation of the US Army Air Corps. Sandler, a military historian, demonstrates how WW II, which became a crusade against racism, caused the beginning of the end of the racial polarization of American society. He tells how—even though blacks performed with distinction in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and WW I—military brass consistently undermined and failed to promote black military men. Under some pressure (the Selective Service Act provided for induction of blacks in proportion to their representation in the general population), the Army inducted blacks into its Air Corps, at first relegating them to menial noncombatant tasks like grave- registration, housecleaning, supply, and transport. With the organization of four black squadrons in July 1941, however, the combat role of blacks in aviation began. Sandler relates how black airmen had to overcome prejudice during the training and ``testing and proving'' phases of their service, and how they showed themselves the equal of white airmen in battle over North Africa and Italy. The author contends that the success of the black airmen was more than simply a matter of pride to the black community: It added impetus to the argument that blacks' fight against Jim Crow was as important as the fight against Hitler. Sandler goes on to present two contrasting stories of black air groups, which demonstrate the different ways in which the units obtained the respect of the white military establishment: The 332nd Fighter Group became an effective and important air unit, while the 477th Bombardment Group never entered combat and staged a historic nonviolent protest against discrimination. Overall, Sandler says, ``the experiences and accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen...ensured that there would be no more segregated skies.'' First-rate, sobering, and inspired. (Forty b&w illustrations- -not seen.)

Pub Date: June 25, 1992

ISBN: 1-56098-154-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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