African American WW1 Soldier May Be Awarded Medal of Honor

A bust of Sergeant Henry Johnson in Albany, New York.

A bust of Sergeant Henry Johnson in Albany, New York.

Sergeant Henry Johnson of the renowned 369th Infantry Regiment – “The Harlem Hell Fighters” – may receive a posthumous Medal of Honor if Federal legislation passes to waive the time limit on his nearly 100-year-old case.  US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has nominated Johnson for the medal and Senate legislation will be introduced in Johnson’s case to do away with a rule that specifies no more than 5 years may pass between and act of valor and the awarding of the medal.

On May 15, 1918, Henry Johnson single-handedly repelled a front line German raiding party using a jammed rifle and a bolo knife for which he received the French Croix de Guerre, and decades later the US Distinguished Service Cross.  Originally from Alexandria, VA, Johnson had moved to Albany, NY, before enlisting in the 15th New York Infantry in 1917, an African-American National Guard Unit which was later re-designated the 369th Infantry.  Arriving in France in January 1918, the 369th distinguished itself in World War 1 fighting under French command.

For more information, see the Times Union story here.

Publishers Face Challenge in WW1 Literature Says WALL STREET JOURNAL

Original cover for Hemingway's classic novel A FAREWELL TO ARMS

Original cover for Hemingway’s classic novel A FAREWELL TO ARMS

According to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, over the past 53 years some 12,500 books on World War I topics have been published in America, compared to more than 43,000 on World War II over the same period.  On the whole Americans, have been far less interested in the First World War, perhaps due to an inability to place the American experience “Over There” in its proper context.

With the coming of the centenary of World War I, however, US  publishers are looking to capitalize on renewed interest in the war as they release and market new titles, both non-fiction and fiction, as well as re-release some of the classics.  Whether in marketing or in format, publishing houses are looking to present new works which tap in to trends among modern readers.

Harlem Hellfighters

Among the new releases will be THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS, a graphic novel from Broadway Books based on the  15th New York Infantry by Max Brooks, author of THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and WORLD WAR Z.  Earlier this year, Harper Collins timed the release of the historical novel SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE to coincide with the American start of the latest season of the popular television drama “Downton Abbey.”

Among the classics to be re-released are Eric Maria Remarque’s ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, along with Hemingway’s A FAREWELL TO ARMS.

For more information on the trends in World War 1 books to be released in the coming years, see THE WALL STREET JOURNAL story here.