Monday, November 03, 2014

Port Chicago 50

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. Steve Sheinkin. 2014. Roaring Brook. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

Wow! What a book! Port Chicago 50 is a compelling nonfiction read. It is informative and detailed, but, it never felt like it was too much, like it was too-information-heavy. It was fascinating and at times shocking. It examines HOW African-Americans were treated in the navy during the second world war. It deals with prejudice and discrimination and injustice. Specifically it focuses on a select group of soldiers stationed at Port Chicago. The soldiers moving explosives from docks to ships were all African-Americans. These soldiers received no special training or instructions. It didn't take them long to figure out that disaster could come at any time, that every day came with big, big risks. Disaster did come. It was awful. It changed the survivors--haunted the survivors. So when these men are asked weeks later to go back to work with explosives, well, some decide to say no. The book is ultimately about 50 men who decided that they did not want to obey orders to load explosives. About the consequences of their actions--or inaction as the case may be. The men were charged with mutiny and put on trial. Would justice be served? Would they have a fair hearing?

The Port Chicago 50 is emotional and fascinating. It was a beautifully written story about the fight for justice and equality. It was everything a nonfiction book should be.

Definitely recommended.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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