Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II
by Ivan J. Houston with Gordon Cohn

"As I was standing in the doorway, facing inward, a loud explosion blew me ten feet inside. Explosions continued all around."

History has many authors. Frequently, the best chroniclers are those who actually lived the history they write about. Such is the case with this memoir—recalled clearly, detailed copiously, and recounted straightforwardly by one of the infantrymen in the first regiment of black soldiers to see actual combat in World War II.

First referred to as Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans they fought against in the Indian Wars of the mid-1860s, African Americans have been fighting and dying in every war the USA has been involved in since the Revolution. This book personalizes the experiences black soldiers faced in the Second World War—experiences including segregation and second class citizenship on the home front and the battlefield. The majority of the tome’s content describes the 92nd Division’s role in the Italian campaign from 1944 to 1945. It is a story that describes individuals conquering fear, engaging in heroic efforts, and never giving up hope. It is also a story of dealing with and overcoming racism that has existed for far too long.

Author Houston, with acknowledged help from other key individuals, provides richly detailed facts and information, not only about specific battles but also about specific people involved in the division’s training and deployment. From lowly enlisted men to high-ranking officers, Houston shares insights about their opinions, motivations, and behaviors. There is never a sense of rancor in his recollections. Rather, there seems to be a sincere desire to let readers know exactly what happened and how those involved actually acquitted themselves. This is a story far too few Americans are familiar with. It is a story that deserves to be told.

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