A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature by Jennifer C. James

By Jennifer C. James

Within the first accomplished examine of African American battle literature, Jennifer James analyzes fiction, poetry, autobiography, and histories in regards to the significant wars waged earlier than the desegregation of the U.S. army in 1948. reading literature in regards to the Civil battle, the Spanish-American Wars, international warfare I, and international battle II, James introduces a number infrequent and understudied texts by way of writers akin to Victor Daly, F. provide Gilmore, William Gardner Smith, and Susie King Taylor. She argues that works via those in addition to canonical writers reminiscent of William Wells Brown, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Gwendolyn Brooks mark a particular contribution to African American letters.

In developing African American conflict literature as a long-standing literary style in its personal correct, James additionally considers the ways that this writing, founded because it is on moments of nationwide predicament, advanced debates approximately black id and African american citizens' claims to citizenship. In a provocative overview, James argues that the very ambivalence over using violence as a political software defines African American conflict writing and creates a compelling, contradictory physique of literature that defies effortless summary.

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Extra info for A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature from the Civil War to World War II

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Pressured by the United States, in 1918 the French Military Mission issued a directive intended to solve the problem: because "[white] Americans become greatly incensed at any public expression of intimacy between white women with black men," the French population was advised not to "indulge" any black soldiers socially. 98 Whether informal or formal, these regulations reemerged during the Second World War, sparking a number of violent racial clashes abroad. As a means of further exposing racial injustices in the armed forces, many of the black masculinist novels choose to center their narratives on the restricted access to the white female body, particularly as the sexual domestic war followed them overseas.

Although it was evident that the works could not be taken without extraordinary loss of life, a General Dwight ordered that the mission continue. His subordinate, Colonel Nelson, made seven charges of the Confederate batteries, each unsuccessful, and each bringing more deaths and casualties. "Humanity," Brown writes, "will never forgive Gen. Dwight... for he certainly saw he was throwing away the lives of his men. But what were his men? 'Only Niggers'" (170). " Unwilling to let the query hang too long, he answers it quickly and affirmatively.

Certainly, visual capacity is often diminished in the "fog ofwar," but the limitation of the visual field is also a matter of purposeful strategy. Drawing from soldiers' descriptions of Civil War battles, he observes that large-scale combat often necessitated that the soldier narrow his sight lines to what is in front of him and little more; soldiers' lives and the lives of their comrades depended on the ability to tunnel their vision through an onslaught of sensory information, zeroing in on whatever targets lay ahead and then quickly advancing.

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