Monday, 24 October 2016

Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone

Courage Has No Color, The True Story Of The Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone

Published in America by Candlewick Press in 2012. Brilliance Audio edition narrated by J D Jackson published in January 2013.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Aeroplanes

How I got this book:
Downloaded from AudioSYNC

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

World War II was raging, with thousands of American soldiers fighting overseas against the injustices brought on by Hitler. Back on the home front, the injustice of discrimination against African Americans was playing out as much on Main Street as in the military. Enlisted black men were segregated from white soldiers and regularly relegated to service duties. At Fort Benning, Georgia, First Sergeant Walter Morris's men served as guards at The Parachute School while the white soldiers prepared to be paratroopers. Morris knew that in order for his men to be treated like soldiers, they would have to train and act like them, but would the military elite and politicians recognize the potential of these men, as well as their passion for serving their country?
Tanya Lee Stone examines the role of African Americans in the military through the lens of the untold story of the Triple Nickles as they became America's first black paratroopers and fought a little-known World War II attack on the American West by the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, in the words of Morris, "proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability."

Courage Has No Colour is short for an audiobook at just over three hours so it is a shame that much of this time is filled out by padding. No doubt the Triple Nickles story highlights an important moment in America's military and social history, but I got the impression that Stone struggled to find much in the way of detailed source material about the experiences of the battalion itself. There are interesting snippets such as the Japanese balloon bomb campaign. I had never heard about this WWII strategy before although my immediate response was to think of Roswell, not forest fires! I liked that Stone did include words from a trio of surviving Triple Nickles whom she interviewed and she did also include frequent quotes from a pre-existing autobiography. It's a shame that more direct information wasn't used - or possibly even available - though because, for a book that is supposed to have been about this historically important batallion, Courage Has No Color spends more time talking generally about 1940s America rather than specifically about the Triple Nickles.

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