Elgin's Reviews > The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America
The Color of War: How One Battle Broke Japan and Another Changed America
by James Campbell
by James Campbell
One of the best WWII books I have read in years...two fascinating and surprisingly related stories recounted in a masterful way. This book tells the story of the invasion of Saipan, one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific, and the story of the black Navy sailors that worked as longshoremen loading the ammunition and bombs for the Pacific battles. The Saipan story followed a few young (17-19 yrs old) white men from the time of their induction in the Marines through the end of the battle and (for those who make it through) beyond. The longshoreman side focused on some young blacks who joined the Navy, with promises that they would serve on ships and in combat, but instead were literally treated as slaves once in the Navy. In the early 1940's the Civil Rights movement was strong, and one goal of the movement was to allow blacks to serve in the military in other than menial positions. The Navy (and other branches of the service) reluctantly took in blacks. The accounts of the discrimination, mistreatment, and lack of concern on the part of the Navy towards the black enlistees are shocking and disgusting...almost unbelievable. We all know there is racial discrimination alive today, but back in the 1940's it was not only a visible part of life, but something many whites, especially in the Navy, were proud of. This is an absolutely outstanding book...both the story of Saipan and that of the blacks in the Navy are incredibly well told and gripping.
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