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Publisher's Summary

A world famous basketball player writing about the history of World War II may seem incongruous. But there is an order to these things; Abdul-Jabbar's high school mentor, Leonard Smith, was in the 761st Battalion, the first all-black tank battalion to see combat in World War II. Together, Abdul-Jabbar and Smith interviewed the unit's 70 survivors and gleaned from them the story of this amazing band of brothers. The 761st operated under conditions of institutional racism that were as severe and evil as anything it might face on the battlefield. Yet, fighting with Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, it helped to turn back the German offensive. It even helped to liberate the concentration camp at Mauthausen. Abdul-Jabbar speaks to the honor, bravery, and dignity that characterized these men.
©2004 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anthony Walton (P)2004 Books on Tape
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Critic Reviews

"A wealth of visual and tactical detail about what it was like to work, and often live, on the inside of a tank.... While it will leave aficionados satisfied, this is military history that will prove compelling to anyone with an interest in black men's experience during the 20th century." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Michael T Brannock on 10-28-04

The Greatest of the Greatest Generation

In the genre of Stephen Ambrose and every bit as good. Yet in one critical way, it is much better. Brothers In Arms tells the story of the fighting men of the 761st tank battalion. The racism these men faced is presented in a straightforward and serious way as simply another aspect of their lives, albeit a gut-wrenchingly important one. There is no preaching or rhetoric in the story and it just simply kills me. In the historical context, it was like discovering a completely unrecognized enemy in the war, even though I have always known that racism was there.

In the face of such degrading hardship from their own country it would be impossible for any man to accomplish what these men did if they did not have each other. Brothers In Arms really brings this home without even trying and has given me a deep and profound appreciation for the word Brother. All of this said, this book is not about racism in WWII, it is about the 761st tank battalion and the incredible fighting they did and the vital contribution they made to winning the war.

It should be no surprise that Kareem Abdul Jabar produced this excellent book; he has successfully pursued excellence all his life. The story is clearly written. I find that often in Ambrose' books it is difficult to tell to whom or to what a particular character is referring to when they are speaking. Not so here. I found myself thinking about this book many weeks after listening to it. I have been filled with emotion and a sense of patriotism, which feels odd considering the treatment of these men. I cannot say enough in favor of this book, and more importantly, of the men of the 761st. MB

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Larry on 12-29-04

Awsome !

I loved this book. I appreciate this book mostly for the fact that it allowed you to hear about how African Americans were treated. It is so sad that you had to hear about the mistreatment of our brave soldiers after they sacrificed so much. I enjoyed the wonderful first hand accounts of the events that these brave men experienced. Hats off to all the solders who had the courage to stand up against all odds.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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