Hidden Heroism: Black Soldiers In America's Wars

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9780813338583: Hidden Heroism: Black Soldiers In America's Wars
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In Hidden Heroism , Robert Edgerton investigates the history of Afro-American participation in American wars, from the French and Indian War to the present. He argues that blacks in American society have long-suffered from a "natural coward" stereotype that is implicit in the racism propagated from America's earliest days, and often intensified as blacks slowly received freedom in American society. For instance, blacks served admirably in various wars, returned home after their service to short-term recongnition, and then soon found themselves even more seriously entrenched in a racist system because they were perceived as a threat to whites. This was true, Edgerton argues, until the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam, though the stereotypes have not been fully eradicated. In this book, Edgerton provides an accessible and well-informed tour through this little-known, but significant aspect of race in American military history.

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About the Author:

Robert B. Edgerton is the author of more than twenty other books on a variety of sociological, anthropological, and historical topics, most recently Hidden Heroism (Westview 2001). He also teaches anthropology at the UCLA School of Medicine.

From Publishers Weekly:

Differing from such standard works as Bernard Nalty's Strength for the Fight (1986) and Gerald Astor's The Right to Fight (1999), this generalist's history focuses on debunking the most controversial aspect of its subject: the racist argument that African-Americans were natural cowards, unwilling and unable to meet the demands of the battlefield. This "American exceptionalism," according to Edgerton, is best interpreted as arising from a long-standing fear of black uprisings, originating in the slaveholding South and spreading northwards after the Civil War, despite a post-Civil War corps of black professionals that served with pride of regiment and pride of race. In the two World Wars, a white-dominated military culture not only insisted that blacks could not fight, but denied them training for combat. It is scarcely surprising that some victims of the stereotype lived down to it, while others rose above it. Edgerton intriguingly takes account of civilian riots, and the armed forces' recent success in drastically reducing institutional racism in a relatively short period of time. Throughout, the book is carefully argued and documented, although reliant on secondary sources. And if its subject now feels like something of a straw man, all the better. (Feb.)Forecast: Public and university libraries will be a lock for this title, as will the African-American studies market. Yet Edgerton's accessible style will make it appealing to buffs as well as to regular readers of history. In order for it to reach them, booksellers will have to be able to see beyond Westview's academic focus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780813340258: Hidden Heroism: Black Soldiers In America's Wars

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ISBN 10:  081334025X ISBN 13:  9780813340258
Publisher: Basic Books, 2002
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9781435115071: Hidden Heroism : Black Soldiers in America's Wars

Westview, 2009
Hardcover

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