Immortal Valor

Immortal Valor

The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II

General Military
  • Author: Robert Child
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 6 Jan 2022
  • Number of Pages: 288
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9781472852854
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The remarkable story of the seven African American soldiers ultimately awarded the World War II Medal of Honor, and the 50-year campaign to deny them their recognition.

In 1945, when Congress began reviewing the record of the most conspicuous acts of courage by American soldiers during World War II, they recommended awarding the Medal of Honor to 432 recipients. Despite the fact that more than one million African-Americans served, not a single black soldier received the Medal of Honor. The omission remained on the record for over four decades.

But recent historical investigations have brought to light some of the extraordinary acts of valor performed by black soldiers during the war. Men like Vernon Baker, who single-handedly eliminated three enemy machineguns, an observation post, and a German dugout. Or Sergeant Reuben Rivers, who spearhead his tank unit's advance against fierce German resistance for three days despite being grievously wounded. Meanwhile Lieutenant Charles Thomas led his platoon to capture a strategically vital village on the Siegfried Line in 1944 despite losing half his men and suffering a number of wounds himself.

Ultimately, in 1993 a US Army commission determined that seven men, including Baker, Rivers and Thomas, had been denied the Army's highest award simply due to racial discrimination. In 1997, more than 50 years after the war, President Clinton finally awarded the Medal of Honor to these seven heroes, sadly all but one of them posthumously.

These are their stories.

Biographical Note

Robert Child is a military history writer, director, and published author with Penguin/Random House. Besides his co-authored book, The Lost Eleven, with Denise George, he has published nine other nonfiction military history titles and military thrillers over the last eight years. The film rights to The Last Eleven have been acquired. Robert has garnered more than 26 writing and directing awards including an Emmy® nomination and is one of only a handful of writer/directors whose work has screened in the United States Congress. He lives in Atlanta.

Contents

Author's Note
List of Illustrations
Introduction

PART ONE - CHARLES L. THOMAS
Chapter 1: Graduation Day
Chapter 2: Last Stop USA
Chapter 3: A Hell of Fire

PART TWO - VERNON J. BAKER
Chapter 4: The Boy from Cheyenne
Chapter 5: The Italian Front
Chapter 6: Storming the Castle

PART THREE - WILLY JAMES JR.
Chapter 7: A Fifth Platoon
Chapter 8: Crossing the Rhine
Chapter 9: Into the Lion's Mouth

PART FOUR - EDWARD ALLEN CARTER JR.
Chapter 10: Baptism by Fire
Chapter 11: A Mercenary Man
Chapter 12: March to the Rhine

PART FIVE - GEORGE WATSON
Chapter 13: Picnic at a Hanging
Chapter 14: Off to War
Chapter 15: Operation Lilliput

PART SIX - RUBEN RIVERS
Chapter 16: Black Gold
Chapter 17: A New Esprit de Corps
Chapter 18: Patton's Panthers

PART SEVEN - JOHN FOX
Chapter 19: Transfer Student
Chapter 20: Shipping Out
Chapter 21: Give 'em Hell

Epilogue: The Rest of the Story
Afterword: The Long Road to Recognition
Acknowledgments
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Index


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