We Fought the Road, by Christine and Dennis McClure
We Fought the Road (224 pages) is the story of the building of the Alaska-Canada Highway during World War II. More than one third of the 10,607 builders were black; thought to be incapable of performing on a war front by many of their white commanding officers. Their task–which required punching through wilderness on a route blocked by the Rocky Mountains and deadly permafrost during the worst winter on record–has been likened to the building of the Panama Canal. Unlike most accounts that focus on the road’s military planners, We Fought the Road is boots-on-the-ground and often personal, based in part on letters from the “Three Cent Romance,” the successful courtship via mail discovered in the authors’ family papers.
“At long last, the history of the black soldiers that built the Alaska Highway, especially those of the 93rd Regiment, is revealed. Despite isolation, brutal extremes of weather, plagues of mosquitoes, lack of proper equipment and systemic racism, the 93rd, and the other black regiments of the United States Army helped build the vital link to Alaska after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With a few exceptions, the wartime contribution of the black regiments to the construction of this strategic military road has been overlooked, or worse, ignored. Finally, some light is thrown upon this hidden chapter of of the Alcan story.”
–Michael Gates, author and historian
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