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All Blood Runs Red
Cover of All Blood Runs Red
All Blood Runs Red
The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard: Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy
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Winner of the Gold Medal for Memoir/Biography from the Military Writers Society of America
A
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"A whale of a tale, told clearly and quickly. I read the entire book in almost one sitting."—Thomas E. Ricks,
New York Times Book Review
The incredible story of the first African American military pilot, who went on to become a Paris nightclub impresario, a spy in the French Resistance and an American civil rights pioneer
Eugene Bullard lived one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. The son of a former slave and an indigenous Creek woman, Bullard fled home at the age of eleven to escape the racial hostility of his Georgia community. When his journey led him to Europe, he garnered worldwide fame as a boxer, and later as the first African American fighter pilot in history.
After the war, Bullard returned to Paris a celebrated hero. But little did he know that the dramatic, globe-spanning arc of his life had just begun.
All Blood Runs Red is the inspiring untold story of an American hero, a thought-provoking chronicle of the twentieth century and a portrait of a man who came from nothing and by his own courage, determination, gumption, intelligence and luck forged a legendary life.
Winner of the Gold Medal for Memoir/Biography from the Military Writers Society of America
A
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"A whale of a tale, told clearly and quickly. I read the entire book in almost one sitting."—Thomas E. Ricks,
New York Times Book Review
The incredible story of the first African American military pilot, who went on to become a Paris nightclub impresario, a spy in the French Resistance and an American civil rights pioneer
Eugene Bullard lived one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. The son of a former slave and an indigenous Creek woman, Bullard fled home at the age of eleven to escape the racial hostility of his Georgia community. When his journey led him to Europe, he garnered worldwide fame as a boxer, and later as the first African American fighter pilot in history.
After the war, Bullard returned to Paris a celebrated hero. But little did he know that the dramatic, globe-spanning arc of his life had just begun.
All Blood Runs Red is the inspiring untold story of an American hero, a thought-provoking chronicle of the twentieth century and a portrait of a man who came from nothing and by his own courage, determination, gumption, intelligence and luck forged a legendary life.
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About the Author-
  • Phil Keith is the author of six books, including Blackhorse Riders, which won the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Military History, was a finalist for the 2013 Colby Award and earned a 2013 silver medal from the Military Writers Society of America. He holds a degree in history from Harvard and is a former navy aviator. During three tours in Vietnam, he served with distinction and was awarded, among other decorations, the Purple Heart, Air Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Commendation Medal.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 2, 2019
    This dazzling biography, drawing on the subject’s unpublished memoir, explores the incredible life and times of the first African-American fighter pilot: Eugene “Gene” Bullard. At 12, he ran away from Columbus, Ga., to escape the vicious racism of the early-20th-century South for France, the country revered by his formerly enslaved father. He crossed the Atlantic straight into minor fame as a boxer in Liverpool and Paris, and experienced partial freedom from the scorn and hatred of whites. In WWI, he joined the French Foreign Legion, fighting for his adopted homeland as a pilot. After a brief interwar interlude as a nightclub band drummer, manager, and owner—rubbing shoulders with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, and Pablo Picasso, and spying on Germans for the French—he volunteered again with the French military when WWII broke out. After being injured as the Germans advanced into France, military and consular personnel advised him to flee the country to avoid being executed by the Nazis. He settled in New York City with his teenage daughters and became variously a longshoreman, a traveling salesman of French perfumes, and an elevator operator at Rockefeller Center. Keith vividly describes Bullard’s experiences—including his medal-worthy military exploits, the luck that allowed him to cheat death repeatedly, and the bizarre parallels between his life and the movie Casablanca. This may be a biography, but it reads like a novel.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2019
    The picaresque adventures of a former slave's son who achieved glory in both world wars and was nearly forgotten by his own country. Two intrepid authors and researchers--military historian and former Navy aviator Keith (America and the Great War: A 100th Anniversary Commemorative of America in World War I, 2019, etc.), a Purple Heart recipient, and Clavin (Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier's First Gunfighter, 2019, etc.)--team up in this dogged effort to excavate the facts of the amazing life of Eugene Bullard (1895-1961). In 1959, France recognized the achievements of the American pilot and soldier with its highest honor, the Legion of Honor, which subsequently gained Bullard, then an elevator operator at Rockefeller Center, his 15 minutes of fame on The Today Show. However, there was much that was never revealed in Bullard's remarkable trajectory from indigent runaway to Jazz Age impresario and many details he fudged or perhaps forgot in an era of turbulent race relations when he later wrote his autobiography. Two traumatic events in his childhood propelled him to strike out on his own at age 11: the death of his Creek Indian mother when he was 6 and a white mob's threatening to lynch his Haitian-born laborer father after a violent altercation with his foreman. Bullard managed never to look back, and the "French connection" from his roots propelled him to "a land where racial prejudice did not exist"--or so he imagined. The authors diligently pursue his story: learning to box in Scotland and then arriving in France just as World War I broke out; getting wounded at Verdun before embarking on a legendary, if short-lived position as a fighter pilot, probably the first black American to do so; and forging a career as a nightclub and athletic club owner in Paris before his next soldierly stint in World War II. Keith and Clavin constantly keep readers guessing about Bullard's next move. Terrific detective work revealing a man determined to forge his own destiny when his country said he couldn't.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from October 1, 2019
    Military historian and decorated naval aviator Keith and author Clavin (Wild Bill, 2019) present the first biography of Eugene Bullard, the first African American fighter pilot. The authors cover Bullard's respectable career as a middleweight boxer, his achievements as a twice-wounded aviator during WWI, and, most remarkably and enjoyably, his adventures as a spy for America while living in France. A hot-tempered but charming club owner, like Humphrey Bogart entertaining German spies in Casablanca, according to the authors, Bullard used his establishment, Le Grand Duc, as a hub for anti-Nazi espionage. In a narrative fit for a thriller, Keith and Claivin track Bullard's battles with Jim Crow at home and heroism on the American expat scene in Montparnasse between the world wars. Bullard employed Langston Hughes as a dishwasher before the poet achieved fame, and hosted such patrons as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, and Ernest Hemingway. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and French President Charles de Gaulle both spoke of his importance, she in a 1959 syndicated column, and he in person at a reception where de Gaulle remarked, 'Tout notre pays est dans votre dette' (All of our country is in your debt). An excellent and significant portrait of a long forgotten, now rightfully reclaimed hero.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    The wildly improbable life story of Eugene Bullard (1895-1961) almost defies belief. Born in Georgia, the son of a formerly enslaved man, Bullard left home at the age of 11 in search of France, drawn to the country as a place where he heard African Americans could escape the racism and violence of home. Keith (Stay the Rising Sun) and Clavin (Dodge City) tell how Bullard made it to Paris, where he initially gained renown as a boxer, then later as a fighter pilot for France during World War I, well before any African Americans were flying for the U.S. military. After the war, he was a jazz drummer and eventually a nightclub owner. His acquaintances in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Langston Hughes (whom Bullard hired to work in his club), and Josephine Baker. In the late 1930s, Bullard used his club to help spy on visiting German soldiers. When Paris fell to the Germans, Bullard finally returned to the United States. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy compelling biography and fast-paced narrative, and especially for those interested in African American history. [See Prepub Alert, 4/28/19.]--Nicholas Graham, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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All Blood Runs Red
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The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard: Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy
Tom Clavin
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