African Americans and the Pacific War, 1941-1945

African Americans and the Pacific War, 1941-1945 : Race, Nationality, and the Fight for Freedom

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In the patriotic aftermath of Pearl Harbor, African Americans demanded the right to play their part in the war against Japan. As they soon learned, however, the freedom for which the United States and its allies was fighting did not extend to African Americans. Focusing on African Americans' experiences across the Asia-Pacific theater during World War Two, this book examines the interplay between national identity, the racially segregated US military culture, and the possibilities of transnational racial advancement, as African Americans contemplated not just their own oppression but that of the colonized peoples of the Pacific region. In illuminating neglected aspects of African American history and of World War Two, this book deepens our understanding of the connections between the United States' role as an international power and the racial ideologies and practices that characterized American life during the mid-twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 300 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 16mm | 440g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 12 Halftones, black and white
  • 1107532930
  • 9781107532939
  • 1,415,067

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. 'Jim Crow on the run': Black America, Pearl Harbor, and the patriotic imperative; 2. The segregated South Seas: hierarchies of race in the Pacific War; 3. A sexualized South Seas?: intersections of race and gender in the Pacific theater; 4. Nourishing the tree of democracy: Black Americans in White Australia; 5. Behaving like men: race, masculinity, and the politics of combat, 6. Liberators and occupiers: African Americans and the Pacific War aftermath; Conclusion.
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Review quote

'Chris Dixon shines a brilliant new light on how the experience of African American soldiers in the Pacific during World War Two significantly differed from that in Europe. Probing the complexity of how blacks related to other peoples of color in the Pacific, he illuminates the distinctive character of American racism - and its persistence - not only with white American soldiers, but also in interaction with non-whites from other nations.' William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Emeritus, Duke University, North Carolina 'Chris Dixon is a masterful story-teller and astute historian. He has uncovered a hitherto overlooked story about the role of African Americans during the Pacific War. It is a 'must-read' for anyone curious about race, sexuality, national identity, and militarism in America during times of war.' Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College, University of London and author of Wounding the World 'In fresh and fascinating detail, Chris Dixon's African Americans and the Pacific War, 1941-1945 reveals the importance of the war in African Americans' long struggle to achieve freedom and equality. Meticulously researched and well written, it is a terrific book.' Shane White, Challis Professor of History at the University of Sydney, and author of Prince of Darkness 'Chris Dixon has written an insightful and superb study of the African American experience in the Pacific during World War Two. Comprehensive and meticulously researched, African Americans and the Pacific War, 1941-1945 is destined to become one of the standard works in the study of the Black experience in World War Two.' James Westheider, University of Cincinnati, and author of The African American Experience in Vietnam 'Prof. Dixon (Macquarie University) looks at the complex experiences of African Americans in the war against Japan. ... This is a very nuanced work.' The NYMAS Review
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About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is Professor of History at Macquarie University, Sydney. His publications include African America and Haiti: Emigration and Black Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century (2000), Perfecting the Family: Antislavery Marriages in Nineteenth-Century America (1997), and Hollywood's South Seas and the Pacific War: Searching for Dorothy Lamour (with Sean Brawley, 2012).
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