The definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective, written by civil rights expert and Dartmouth history professor Matthew Delmont

Viking Books
October 18, 2022 (preorder below)

Over one million Black men and women served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units and performing unheralded but vital support jobs, only to be denied housing and educational opportunities on their return home. Without their crucial contributions to the war effort, the United States could not have won the war. And yet the stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored, cast aside in favor of the myth of the “Good War” fought by the “Greatest Generation.”
 

Half American is American history as you’ve likely never read it before. In these pages are stories of Black heroes such as Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer for the NAACP, who investigated and publicized violence against Black troops and veterans; Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., leader of the Tuskegee Airmen, who was at the forefront of the years-long fight to open the Air Force to Black pilots; Ella Baker, the civil rights leader who advocated on the home front for Black soldiers, veterans, and their families; James Thompson, the 26-year-old whose letter to a newspaper laying bare the hypocrisy of fighting against fascism abroad when racism still reigned at home set in motion the Double Victory campaign; and poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a war correspondent for the Black press. Their bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism is both inspiring and galvanizing. In a time when the questions World War II raised regarding race and democracy in America remain troublingly relevant and still unanswered, this meticulously researched retelling makes for urgently necessary reading.

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PRAISE FOR HALF AMERICAN

“Matthew F. Delmont has written a remarkable account of the shockingly oppressive conditions that African Americans—from the Tuskegee Airmen, to the men of the 92nd Infantry, to Black Marines—experienced during and after World War II. His research and ability to so eloquently describe those circumstances and the remarkable contributions that these men and women made in achieving our historic victories in Europe and Asia make this book a very compelling read. It ought to be mandatory reading for every member of Congress.”
Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader

CONTACT

Literary Agent, including documentary and film rights:

Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency (michelle@tessleragency.com)

Speaking Agent:

Kate Berner, Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau (kberner@penguinrandomhouse.com)

Also by Matthew Delmont:

Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers (Stanford University Press, 2019)

Making Roots: A Nation Captivated (University of California Press, 2016)

Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (University of California Press, 2016)

The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia (University of California Press, 2012)

About the Author:

Matthew Delmont is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth College. A Guggenheim Fellow and expert on African American history and the history of civil rights, he is the author of four books: Black Quotidian, Why Busing Failed, Making Roots, and The Nicest Kids in Town. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, NPR, and several academic journals. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Delmont earned his B.A from Harvard University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University.