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Fighting on Two Fronts African Americans and the Vietnam War begins by briefly looking at how previous wars such as the American Revolution WWI WWII and the Korean War dealt with race relations in comparison to the Vietnam War Earlier wars had a segregated system that limited the contact between white and black soldiers and it was not until the Vietnam War when soldiers were fully integrated In a chronological order beginning with the draft and ending with the soldiers returning home Westheider examined how full integration brought about many problems for the US military Prior to writing about racial discrimination in the Vietnam War Westheider collected enormous amounts of data that ranged from official government documents to journal entries from soldiers Over nine hundred personal interviews from white and black soldiers of varying ranks helped ensure the accuracy of his reports The extent of racial conflicts depended on many things including the setting the personnel and the timing of military events Despite the sensitivity of racial issues Westheider remained objective and allowed the reader to form their own opinions about the US military and their handling of racism against African Americans in the Vietnam War Beginning with the draft the reader is overwhelmed by the enormous amount of statistical data Westheider discusses in a chapter what could have been best explained with a series of graphs Earlier chapters focus on numbers while later chapters add a human element to the Vietnam experience The draft and recruitment requirements were said to favor the middle and upper class which meant African Americans were being drafted in disproportionately high numbers because of their lower social and economic standing It would be useful if the reader knew what percent of Americans were eligible for service which would put the number of black recruits in perspective Westheider assumes the reader is familiar with population statistics and therefore does not elaborate on them which causes confusion There is
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