Tuesday, January 30, 2007

William Gardner Smith

Through the wonderful network of university libraries, I was able to track down William Gardner Smith's 1948 novel The Last of the Conquerors, which will inform my Baumholder research for my own novel.

Last of the Conquerors. One of the few fictional depictions of African American soldiers during the war, the novel concerns a black G.I. in occupied Germany who falls in love with a German girl. The African American writer was born in Philadelphia and served as a clerk-typist in occupied Berlin. His other novels would include Anger at Innocence (1950), South Street (1954), and The Stone Face (1963).

Thus far I'm not getting into the race issue in Baumholder, 1961, except how it relates to my central focus, and I base this on personal experience, like the time a black soldier beaned me with a chair in a black bar. One of my best friends in the company was black, and we hung out together for the most part without hassle. Of course, if we stayed on post on the hill, everything was fine.

I'm at the office early, four hours till my class, in order to work on the novel without Sketch yapping at me to go for a run.

1 comment:

Lizzy said...

The topic of black American GIs in post-War Germany provides fodder for Rainer Werner Fassbinder in several of his films (Marriage of Maria Braun, Lola). Fassbinder's boyfriend, the handsome, meaty Gunther Kaufman, was himself the product of a union between one such GI and a German woman. Kaufman's presence in the films is captivating, for a big lug with minimal acting skills.

I'm glad I ran across this post, as now I know the book exists, I will make it a point to find it.