The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm
Publication Date: May 14, 2002
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A dramatic and moving tribute to the military’s unsung heroes, American Patriots tells the story of the black servicemen and women who defended American ideals on the battlefield, even as they faced racism in the ranks and segregation on the home front. Through hundreds of original interviews with veterans of every war since World War I, historic accounts, and photographs, Gail Buckley brings these heroes and their struggles to life. We meet Henry O. Flipper, who withstood silent treatment from his classmates to become the first black graduate of West Point in 1877. And World War II infantry medic Bruce M. Wright, who crawled through a minefield to shield a fallen soldier during an attack. Finally, we meet a young soldier in Vietnam, Colin Powell, who rose through the ranks to become, during the Gulf War, the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fourteen years in the making, American Patriots is a landmark chronicle of the brave men and women whose courage and determination changed the course of American history.
Gail Lumet Buckley is a journalist and the daughter of Lena Horne. Her family history — The Hornes — became an American Masters documentary, and she narrated a documentary on black American families for PBS. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, the New York Daily News, and The New York Times. She lives in New York.
“A triumphant American success story.”
—Stephen E. Ambrose
“A remarkable human drama, one of struggle, betrayal and ultimate redemption . . . Buckley has written a book to fill a significant gap in our history.”
—The New York Times
“A mine of powerful anecdotes, characters and forgotten history. You can open American Patriots practically anywhere and find yourself fascinated.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“With their blood and courage, they lift us all up. . . . A fascinating, stirring and important book.” —Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
“A compulsive and humbling history of nobility in the face of American prejudice, and courage in the face of America’s enemies. Buckley writes with grace and authority—and an almost unearthly restraint.” —John le Carré