The night broke open in a storm of explosions and fire. The sound of shells whizzing overhead, screeching through the night like wounded pheasants, was terrifying. When the shells exploded prematurely overhead, a rain of shrapnel fell on the men below better than when the shells exploded in the trenches...
In A More Unbending Battle, journalist and author Pete Nelson chronicles the little-known story of the 369th Infantry Regiment, the first African-American regiment mustered to fight in WWI. Recruited from all walks of Harlem life, the regiment had to fight alongside the French because America's segregation policy prohibited them from fighting with white U.S. soldiers. Despite extraordinary odds and racism, the 369th became one of the most successful and infamous regiments of the war. The Harlem Hellfighters, as their enemies named them, spent longer than any other American unit in combat, were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine, and showed extraordinary valor on the battlefield, with many soldiers winning the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor.
Replete with vivid accounts of battlefield heroics, A More Unbending Battle is the thrilling story of the dauntless Harlem Hellfighters.
“In rich detail, Mr. Nelson recalls how the regiment fought valiantly at the front (and through its marching band helped introduce jazz to Europe.) Some of the most moving passages, though, are about what happened before and after.” (
New York Times)
“A thrilling story of the heroes and horrors of war, A More Unbending Battle restores the overlooked Harlem Hellfighters to their rightful glory. Peter Nelson has brought to life an extraordinarily pivotal moment in the history not only of World War I, but of race in the American consciousness.” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University)
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