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Book details history of black platoons

Lawrence Boris K/394, shares a review of "Blood for Dignity" by David P. Colley. The book outlines the history of the African-American soldiers in World War II.

Its subject is the black platoons added to white rifle companies near the end of the war in Europe because of a shortage of infantry replacements.

The focus is the fifth platoon, K/394, 99th Infantry Division, in action in March and April 1945, against a German army. Commanded by Lt. Richard Ralston, some of the platoon's men had mostly street smarts and others had college degrees. All felt they had something to prove.

Colley presents the men directly, flaws and all. The black platoons have been frequently mentioned but not covered in such detail before. The author has added accounts of the African-American experience in the military before World War II.

"Based on comprehensive interviews and the use of written sources, the book will be steadily engaging for anyone interested in WWII and integration history," reports Publishers Weekly.

The book has 256 pages and lists for $24.95. It is published by St. Martin's Press and is available at and area bookstores.