John F. Marszalek is W. L. Giles Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Mississippi State University.
Assault at West Point, The Court Martial of Johnson Whittakerby John Marszalek
In "Assault at West Point", John F. Marszalek, the highly acclaimed author of "Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order", has written a dramatic account of one of the most momentous trials in American history. Set in the 1880s, this riveting story focuses on Whittaker, a former slave who became the third black to enter West Point. Like his two predecessors, he was ostracized for the entire three years of his training. One morning Whittaker didn't show up for drill. He was found in his room, unconscious, tied tightly to the bed, with blood streaming from his head. In a trial that received major attention from the press, Whittaker was accused of faking the crime to get sympathy from the public and from his professors. Author Marszalek weaves his rich narrative from historical records to tell how Whittaker sought justice against all odds. Now the basis if the Showtime original movie "Assault at West Point", this compelling work brings to life a case that rocked the country and involved the highest reaches of power-- and vividly demonstrates the impact of racism on teh fabric of American society.
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I really can't wait to read this extraordinary piece of history. Unforunately, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie it was turned into first, which was exxcellent. The sad part is that in some instances Mr. Whitaker would be sad to know that our country hasn't come but so far since1880 in the area of racial prejudice. Cast a sad cloud over Aerica.