The night broke open in a storm of explosions and fire. The sound of shells whizzing overhead, screeching through the night like wounded pheasants, was terrifying. When the shells exploded prematurely overhead, a rain of shrapnel fell on the men below--better than when the shells exploded in the trenches...In A More Unbending Battle, journalist and author Pete Nelson chronicles the little-known story of the 369th Infantry Regiment--the first African-American regiment mustered to fight in WWI. Recruited from all walks of Harlem life, the regiment had to fight alongside the French because America's segregation policy prohibited them from fighting with white U.S. soldiers. Despite extraordinary odds and racism, the 369th became one of the most successful--and infamous--regiments of the war. The Harlem Hellfighters, as their enemies named them, spent longer than any other American unit in combat, were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine, and showed extraordinary valor on the battlefield, with many soldiers winning the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor.
Replete with vivid accounts of battlefield heroics, A More Unbending Battle is the thrilling story of the dauntless Harlem Hellfighters.
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(235mm x 156mm x 26mm)
Basic Civitas Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
The story of the Harlem Hellfighters, an all-black regiment who fought against the Germans in World War I and against racism at home.Even though racism was still widespread in American politics in 1916, there was a dire need for soldiers at the front. Despite protests from Southern politicians who feared that allowing blacks to serve would subvert Jim Crow laws, the 369th Infantry Regiment was formed, led by white officers William Hayward, Hamilton Fish and Arthur Little. Training had not yet begun when violence erupted, as white supremacists sought every opportunity to form lynch mobs. Upon arriving in Europe, the 369th fought with the French Army under Gen. Henri Gouraud, who welcomed them with open arms. The 369th proved their mettle in battle, with men like Henry Johnson becoming war heroes, earning the regiment their Hellfighters name. Nelson (Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS <\i>Indianapolis, 2002, etc.) seamlessly interweaves the military narrative with vivid firsthand accounts. The Hellfighters were a true brotherhood whose influence extended beyond the trenches. Jim Europe, a noted musician, stunned the French with jazz interpretations of popular French songs, instigating a French obsession with jazz in the postwar era. Noble Sissle became a hit songwriter and fought for the recognition of black artists. Little, Haywood and Fish all became active proponents of civil rights. The Hellfighters fought a war on two fronts and displayed incredible fortitude in the face of prejudice, racial violence and the ever-present gas and machine-gun fire. Nelson offers a nuanced, in-depth portrait of this group of ordinary men who fought with inspiring courage and dignity.A valuable addition to World War I and civil-rights scholarship on a subject too frequently overlooked. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Peter Nelson
Pete Nelson's writing has been published in numerous publications, including Harper's, Esquire, Men's Health, Outside, and Rolling Stone. He is an award-winning author of seventeen books, the most recent being Left for Dead. He lives in South Salem, New York.