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Two Steps from Glory

Price: $28.95
Item Number: 6268038800000
African Americans enlisted by the hundreds of thousands during World War II, swelling the ranks of the U.S. military by more than a million strong. And as they had in every U.S. war from the Revolutionary War on, blacks signed up with two goals in mind: to fight for the country they loved and to earn, on the battlefield, the respect they’d been so long denied at home. Lieutenant Welton I. Taylor, a lanky kid from the South Side of Chicago, was no different. Trained as a liaison pilot for the Army Field Artillery, he longed to defend his country by directing hailstorms of 155mm howitzer shells onto enemy positions. But Taylor’s goals and those of the majority of black soldiers serving during World War II would remain elusive. The U.S. Army believed blacks ill-suited for combat and relegated most black units to labor battalions or the Quartermaster Corps. Even those men who eventually fought in Italy or in the jungles of Bouganville found they were fighting on two fronts—battling not just the enemy, but Jim Crow in the barracks and the mess halls, too. For these men of the Greatest Generation, World War II was just the newest war. The Civil War—long since over yet never truly won—raged on. Deployed to the South Pacific with the all-black 93rd Division, Lieutenant Taylor faced the enemy and the segregated U.S. Army too, but did as his father had taught him: he played the hand he was dealt. In the process, Taylor outsmarted both the Jim Crow Army and the enemy and proved that race is a poor yardstick by which to judge a man. Two Steps From Glory is his story and that of so many more.

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