An American Uprising
...in Second World War England, from Pen & Sword
Title: An American Uprising in Second World War England
Author: Kate Werran
Publisher: Pen & Sword
This is the 'story of a story' that was both very public and at the same time was not one that really wanted to be publicised at the time. It is the record of a US Military court martial that took place here in the UK, actually in the Cornish town of Launceton.
Based around the court records this is an account of a trial in the UK of a group of 14 members of the 581st Ordnance Ammunition Company who were charged with Mutiny and for firing at US Army MPs (Military Police) in the centre of town. The unit was made up from African American soldiers and as well as the court records, it explores the background of this group of Negro soldiers during their training and then deployment to the UK in 1943, to take part in the invasion of Europe. It explores the question of racism within the US Army at the time, the attitudes towards it both within the USA and also here in the UK when they were here. The so-called 'Jim Crow' treatment of these soldiers makes for interesting, if somewhat surprising, reading. As for the court records, reading the details of the records indicates there were plenty of issues about the evidence and how it was both gathered and presented which raises plenty of questions today.
These events took place in the midst of a World War, and the relationship of the US and UK Allies had plenty of problems to deal with. This is just one, and I think it is understandable that these events were not something that the 'Powers The Be' would have wanted to allow to become too serious but as even today we still deal with questions about racism, this makes both interesting and even now, still topical reading.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.