PRLog (Press Release)
Succession on Amazon - Part of Ulysses S. Grant in China
- Nov. 2, 2012 -
War and revolution have always been popular settings for young adult fiction, from Johnny Tremain
to The Hunger Games.
Yet few pieces of fiction have investigated the drama of Africa’s rich history. Now a Valley Forge Military College professor adds to the coming-of-age tradition in a violent story entitled “Succession,”
set in the West African 19th Century Benin Kingdoms.
the young protagonist (Kamau) is bored with his training and with his pot-bellied teacher (Kunle). Kamau longs to do battle with the super-warriors of the Edo tribe. When a morning patrol goes terribly wrong, he gets his chance, and finds that growing up is not always so pleasant. Author Tom Durwood wanted to place his adventure in a time of life he knows well from his experience teaching cadets. “My students are making that same transition, from boy to man,” he says. “It’s a time when you want to do everything. You quickly find out how limited your powers are.”
As little as today’s students might know about American history, they know far less about African history. Educators have long noted the absence of Africa from global histories. “We are taught to value the Caucasian culture over our own culture,” argues former African Sun Times
editor Dr. Chika Onyeani. “We are taught to value the Caucasian history over our own history.” The recent publication of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience
, co-edited by Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates, has helped bring African history into the spotlight, but there is a sizeable gap to fill. Durwood sees it as an opportunity for good old-fashioned adventure stories.
grew out of the author’s interest in the history of the black warrior. This year, Durwood published an ebook he had been writing for five years dentitled Teddy’s Tantrum
, on the all-black 25th Infantry. It was a regiment unlucky enough to cross Theodore Roosevelt’s path. In 1906, in a fit of his famous temper, President Roosevelt dismissed 167 of the troops of the 25th for their part in the Brownsville Raid. Sixty years later, an author named John D. Weaver dug up all the original facts and transcripts and argued in a book called The Brownsville Raid
that Roosevelt had railroaded the troops; there was never any proof that they were responsible for the raid. In 1972, the U.S. Army formally apologized for what historian Lewis L. Gould calls “one of the most glaring miscarriages of justice in American history.”
The descendants of the “buffalo soldiers” of the 25th went on to serve with gre4at honor in 20th century wars, and down to the current conflicts. His research into Teddy’s Tantrum
made Durwood wonder about the men of the 25th’s ancestors, young black soldiers who had patrolled the borderlands of their original homeland. “Succession”
is the result. “I am hoping to expand the story into a novella,” reports the author. “It would be a good way to bring our students into the history of cultures unfamiliar to them. Once my cadets get to know the exploits of figures like the Zulu kings Shaka and Dingane and Mpande, they’ll be hooked.”
Other stories in the collection Ulysses S. Grant in China and Other Stories
feature similar brave teens in dire circumstances. “The Caliph’s Gift” takes place at the beginning of the Dutch Revolt against Spain, and “Saloon Reunion” (currently free on Amazon) is set against the land wars between ranchers and grangers in the California territories, circa 1870.
Grab Saloon Reunion and Love Triangle in the High Sierras free:http://www.amazon.com/Reunion-Triangle-Sierras-Ulysses-eb...
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