Book Review: “An American Uprising in Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy”


(See all of my Book Reviews) – Author Kate Werran published the book “An American Uprising in Second World War England: Mutiny in the Duchy” in 2020 (July). This is Ms. Werran’s first publication.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘PG’. This is the story of a group of African American soldiers stationed near Launceston, Cornwall, UK. I have seen minor references to this, but this is the first full account I have read of the incident.

Though African Americans served in WWII, they were, for the most part, segregated. They were often subject to various forms of abuse. The 581st Ordnance Ammunition Company was no exception.

Men of the 581st had gone into the small town of Launceston on Sunday, September 26, 1943, to visit some of the local pubs. There was a confrontation with white soldiers. Some men of the 581st retreated to their camp and armed themselves. Returning to Launceston, there was a confrontation with Military Police. MPs were injured after the men of the 581st fired shots during the confrontation. The incident resulted in 14 of the 581st soldiers being Court Martialed.

I thought that the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 256-page history were interesting. The book paints a picture of the local situation. Many Brits are hostile towards the white Americans because of their attitude. Brits find the African American soldiers much friendlier and more courteous. The Brits do not understand or approve of the segregation they see with US troops. Much of the book covers the trial. The impression you are left with is that the defendants were poorly represented. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 3.7 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

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If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 370 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

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