By Zakia Munirah Carter
Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes
By Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Anthony Walton
(Broadway, 320 pages, $24.95)
Yes, that Kareem Abdul-Jabar. The multiple NBA MVP winner and living legend has penned a fascinating account of the men of the 761st Battalion, the all-black tank battalion known as "The Black Panthers," in World War II who saw 183 consecutive days of war combat on the frontlines whereas most American units fought on the front for one to two weeks before being rotated back. Told in third person narration, the book is enhanced by the first hand accounts relayed to Jabar by his mentor and friend Leonard "Smitty" Smith, the actual loader on the tank crew and interviews with the 70 surviving members of the battalion and family members. With detail and careful research, Jabar and Walton offer up yet another example of the heroism of black men in the military and their significant roles in WWII in particular, including the liberation of thirty towns and villages and a concentration camp in Germany.
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