The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America’s Military

Rawn James Jr. Bloomsbury, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60819-608-1
Long before the Little Rock Nine, the United States military established itself as an example of a functioning integrated society for the rest of the nation. James (Root and Branch), a Washington, D.C., lawyer, shows that the push to desegregate the military dates back to the Revolutionary War, but it wasn’t until after WWI, during a victory celebration in Paris, that the struggle reached its most sobering nadir: “[t]he United States was the only Allied nation to forbid its black soldiers from marching in the parade.” That disappointing experience prompted African-American leaders in WWII to pursue the “double V”: victory abroad against external enemies and victory at home against prejudice. The unlikely hero of the story is President Truman—unlike FDR, he was willing to risk his political career to back the cause of African-American rights, eventually ordering the desegregation of the armed forces in 1948. Truman’s decree set the precedent for the civil rights movement and remains a lynchpin event in the struggle for equal rights of all kinds; as long as inequality persists, this tale of persistence, sacrifice, and triumph will continue to inspire. Agent: Matthew Carnicelli, Carnicelli Literary Management. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/22/2013
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-60819-622-7
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!