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Tom Willard is in the midst of a series of novels focussing on the role of black soldiers in American military history.  The first of these, Buffalo Soldiers, begins with Congress creating the first black peacetime units in 1866.  Augustus Sharps is a black man who, despite the Civil War, has been held as a virtual slave by a white hunter who purchased him from Indians.  Freed by men of the 10th Calvary, Augustus, who is already an expert shot, joins up and spends most his life in the U.S. Army, then joins Buffalo Bill's Wild West show after fighting with the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill.  The novel closes with America's entry into WWI, Augustus is too old to serve by then, but as his two sons head off to war, he presents them with his battle saber.

While one admires Willard's effort to recover the memory of the black heroes who served America so ably and with so little reward in the years before the nation desegregated, the story is ultimately more earnest than interesting.  I'd give it a mild recommendation.  A formulaic rehash of classic Western themes, redeemed only by the reminder that blacks played an important and underappreciated role in creating the American West.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C)

  

Websites:

See also:

Race
Westerns
Tom Willard Links:
-AUTHOR SITE: TomWillardauthor.com

Book-related and General Links:
    -Encyclopaedia Britannica: Your search: "buffalo soldiers"
    -THE BUFFALO SOLDIERS ON THE WESTERN FRONTIER (International Museum of the Horse)
    -BUFFALOSOLDIERS.NET: The Definitive Source for Information on America's Unsung Heroes
    -Portraits in Black - The Buffalo Soldiers
    -The Buffalo Soldiers
    -Buffalo Soldier Net (Stanford L. Davis)
    -Exploring the Life and History of the "Buffalo Soldiers" By Walter Hill (National Archives and Records Administration)
    -ABSRA: America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association

GENERAL:
    -PEOPLE OF COLOR ON AMERICA'S WESTERN FRONTIER

Comments:

Which service to what country are you honoring Mr. Willard for? The U.S.? Biafra? Angola? Rhodesia? Israel? (I presume he fought against, not for, the PLO) Puts me in mind of Nietzsche's, "A good fight justifies any cause." Personally--having got shot at a bit myself in dark places--I am bloody sick and tired of Willard et.al.'s "old soldier" routine. You went off and got into multiple wars because you liked it one way or another. Combat is alluring, awful as it can be. Be up front about that, don't hide behind a flag. Hey, big boys just love themselves in uniform.

- Ernest Deschoening

- Nov-15-2007, 10:17

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I have read several of Tom Willards books and I have not found one that I have not enjoyed infact I can't order them fast enough I also am having a tough time finding some of the books in hard cover so I have bought some of the books paper back and am still currently looking for some of the books in hardcover version. I really enjoyed Buffalo Soldiers and was really impressed when I found out that that book was one of the 40 required reads at the West Point Military Academy. I can't wait until Tom's newest book comes out.

- Darren B

- Feb-03-2005, 05:23

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Mr. Willard:

No, it's the same review, we just moved the site.

I'll repeat what I said when you posted roughly the same message at the last site: We did recommend the book, so your reaction seems excessive. Still, we honor your service to the country.

Be well, OJ

- oj

- Apr-28-2003, 01:09

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I enjoyed your review on my book... BUFFALO SOLDIERS.

You seemed to have plagiarized (sp), from another who does not like me.

So be it.

At least, I put my ass out there on the line, from Nam, Middle East (PLO), Biafra, Angola, Rhodesia, and other dark places.

I don't see your nam e at the top of the page. All you do is shit on those whose shit you are capable of carrying.

TW

- Tom Willard

- Apr-28-2003, 00:59

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