Book Cover Image of Captain Blackman by John A. Williams

Captain Blackman
by John A. Williams

Publication Date: Apr 01, 2000
List Price: $20.00
Format: Paperback, 264 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781566890960
Imprint: Coffee House Press
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Parent Company: Coffee House Press

Paperback Description:

Features an introduction by Alexs Pate

John A. Williams, journalist and educator, did exceptional work in fiction and nonfiction during the 1960s and 1970s, propelling his name to the forefront of American letters. Of the more than 20 books he produced, none attracted more controversy than his 1972 Captain Blackman, a fictional survey of race, segregation, war, and American democracy. As Captain Abraham Blackman lies critically wounded in the Vietnam War, he re-imagines the role of the Black man during every significant conflict in U.S. military history. Writer George Davis said in a May 21, 1972 New York Times review: ‘It may turn out to be among the important works of fiction of the decade. It is without Williams’ most ambitious work.’ It totally deserves your attention.” —Robert Fleming

A ‘fascinating novel’ of race and war in historical US conflicts — through the eyes of a black soldier inexplicably traveling through time … This ‘necessary [and] boldly experimental’ historical novel from the two-time American Book Award-winning author brilliantly explores the complicated legacy of the African American soldier throughout US history.” —The New York Times Book Review

In the midst of the racial tensions in the army during the Vietnam War, Capt. Abraham Blackman does what he can to educate his fellow black soldiers on the history of race relations in the US military. But when he is gravely wounded in the jungle of Southeast Asia, he finds himself inexplicably rocketed into those conflicts of the past.

From slavery to segregation, Blackman experiences firsthand the racism — from subtle and insidious discrimination to outright violence — of the American military’s past. Yet no matter the conflict, be it the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, or World War II, Blackman fights for a racist military establishment that expects black soldiers to die for the cause of “freedom” — even when they are denied it at home. Ultimately, Blackman’s greatest challenge will take place in his own time, in Vietnam, where he must battle not only to survive but for that most elusive of victories: justice.

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