Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.: American

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Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.: American by
Paperback $17.95

Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press | Jan 17, 2000 | 442 Pages | 6-1/2 x 9 | ISBN 9781560983958

  • Paperback$17.95

    Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press | Jan 17, 2000 | 442 Pages | 6-1/2 x 9 | ISBN 9781560983958

Praise

Davis, the first black graduate of West Point in this century, led the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron in WW II, commanded the integrated 51st Fighter Wing in Korea and the 13th Air Force during the Vietnam war. Retiring from the Air Force in 1970 as a three-star general, he served in a number of civilian posts, including director of public safety for the city of Cleveland and assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Davis enjoyed an almost unbroken string of successes in his military and civilian careers, the only major exception being a municipal job in Cleveland from which he resigned for political reasons. What lends the autobiography historical significance is Davis’s account of the struggle to gain professional recognition not only for himself but for all black servicemen in the face of segregation, institutional racial prejudice and local bigotry. A revealing look at race relations from the point of view of a gifted, uncompromising military man. Photos. (From Publishers Weekly; Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

YA– An autobiography of the first African American to graduate from West Point in the 20th century. Although he was not wanted at that institution, Davis graduated 35th in a class of 276. His first assignment was at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was rejected by the Officers’ Club. The turning point of his career came when he was asked by the Roosevelt Administration to lead the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron. Davis and his squadron silenced critics with aerial victories over Anzio in two successive days in January, 1944. He later served as director of Civilian Aviation Security and as assistant secretary for Environment, Safety and Consumer Affairs at the Department of Transportation. This book is highly recommended as it presents a new look at race relations from the point of view of an accomplished, steadfast military person. (From School Library Journal; Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS; Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Born in 1912 to the only black Regular Army officer in the U.S. Army, Davis graduated from West Point in 1936 and went on to a distinguished career in military aviation. He commanded the very successful black fighter groups whose performance eventually enabled the Air Force to integrate before civilian society had done so. Eventually he rose to lieutenant general, having all his life pioneered in race relations in hostile environments. Davis’s intimate narrative omits many details, is often poorly organized, and not always smoothly written, but it breathes rage at the injustices of racism and offers constant inspiration. A very high priority purchase for military, public, and academic libraries because of the stature of the author. (From Library Journal; Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army TRALINET Ctr., Ft. Monroe, Va.; Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

By any standards, this is a fine autobiography . . . must reading for anyone interested in race relations or American military history. (Washington Post)

This moving autobiography, written with understated passion and without rancor, describes the appalling ostracism the author endured as a cadet and young officer and the positive changes after World War II that opened opportunity to all officers. . . . (Foreign Affairs)

This book provides valuable insight on many levels. It is military history, aviation history, and a chapter in the history of science and technology. It is also a poignant essay on social changes full of vivid recollections of human courage and tragedy. In the final analysis, this is the story of a military pilot who led his men and his country on one of the greatest ‘freedom rides’ of all time. (In Flight)

A revealing look at race relations from the point of view of a gifted, uncompromising military man. (Publishers Weekly)

Highly recommended. (School Library Journal)

In his autobiography, [Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.,] breaks the silence he maintained while in uniform. . . . His personal story should come as a revelation to many who may not be fully aware of the long history of prejudice in all the military branches. [The book] illustrates the life of a genuine hero. (New York Times)

Davis, a man of much dignity and reserve, has not written a kiss-and-tell book. He provides personal experience with discretion. . . . A solid autobiography. (Aerospace Power Journal)

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