Hell Fighters; African American Soldiers in World War I

Hell Fighters; African American Soldiers in World War I

by Michael L. Cooper
     
 

Taking readers from the humble beginnings of the Fifteenth New York Voluntary Infantry of the National Guard through its ordeals on and off the battle front to its victory parade up Fifth Avenue at war's end, Cooper recounts the actions of one of the few black regiments of the U.S. Army to see action during World War I. Here is the war seen from the perspective of a… See more details below

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Overview

Taking readers from the humble beginnings of the Fifteenth New York Voluntary Infantry of the National Guard through its ordeals on and off the battle front to its victory parade up Fifth Avenue at war's end, Cooper recounts the actions of one of the few black regiments of the U.S. Army to see action during World War I. Here is the war seen from the perspective of a self-made regiment that overcame many obstacles to become an effective army distinguishing itself under fire.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Cooper recounts the little known facts of the valiant black soldiers of World War I. Later know as the Hellfighters, the men of the 369th regiment trained with inadequate equipment, but within a short time were thrust into the brunt of battle in France. Such was their bravery that they never gave ground to the enemy, but they did pay an incredible price-losing half of their force. The story is told in spare text, supplemented with vintage photographs and quotes. The insets that present related information are not clearly delineated, and they interrupt the flow of the text, but this aside, Cooper has provided a well-researched and fascinating war story.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-More than just a history that illuminates a little-known aspect of American participation in the Great War of 1914-1918, this ambitious work also examines one very important phase in the evolution of civil rights for African Americans. In highly readable prose, Cooper tells the story of the mostly black Fifteenth New York Voluntary Infantry of the National Guard from its formation in 1916 through its transformation into the 369th regiment, its service in France, and its return to a triumphal parade down New York City's Fifth Avenue. The author gives sufficient background so that readers are informed of the existence of segregated regiments with mostly white officers and the dearth of high-ranking black officers from the Civil War to, during, and after World War I. Cooper describes the struggles that the officers of the Fifteenth had in obtaining uniforms, equipment, and other supplies. In France, it was only as a result of a personal appeal to General John J. Pershing that the unit was put into combat under French command; it was at this time that it was renamed the 369th Regiment of the U.S. Army. It was in May of 1918 that the 369th earned the nickname of "Hell Fighters" (bestowed by the African-American newspapers back home in Harlem). Coverage is augmented with a good selection of archival black-and-white photographs. A good companion volume to Michael Uschan's A Multicultural Portrait of World War I (Benchmark, 1995).-David A. Lindsey, Lakewood High and Middle School Libraries, WA
Kirkus Reviews
A look at the double struggle of black soldiers in WW I—against the enemy abroad, and against the prejudice that resided closer to home.

Cooper shows the wide gulf between these soldiers' heroism on the front and their treatment behind the lines in the first world war. One New York unit, described by its commander as "a self-made regiment, started without traditions, without education, without friends," received rifles only after the government was tricked into supplying them, and was not allowed to march in a farewell parade before embarking for France. Cooper vigorously describes the exploits of the 93rd Division, which fought under French command and earned the name "Hell Fighters," noting the harsh experiences of noncombatants and the inglorious 92nd Division in less detail; besides its many decorations, the 93rd did indeed parade upon its return to New York, marching up Fifth Avenue and "through Harlem singing and laughing." Enhanced by a sheaf of black-and-white photographs, plus side essays on the Houston Riot, the forced retirement of Charles Young, the US's highest ranking African-American at the beginning of the war, and other topics, this makes an absorbing companion to Catherine Reef's Black Fighting Men (1994) or a lead-in to Cooper's social history of the postwar years, Bound for the Promised Land

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525675341
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
9.32(w) x 7.34(h) x 0.43(d)
Lexile:
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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