Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads

Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads – African Diasporic Voices of World War I and World War II

A collection of poetry by Nairobi Thompson

beautiful collection of poetry by Nairobi Thompson.

Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads

Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads begins with a forward by the historian of Black British history, Stephen Bourne. It is fitting that Bourne writes the forward for this book because Bourne’s books have helped to shed light on the unknown stories of Black soldiers and Black Britons on the home front,  both in WW1 & WW2. Bourne is perfectly placed to contextualize the contents and letters of this period, stating that he wanted to use letters and poems written by Black soldiers in his work, but found them to be “lost in the mists of time”.

Thompson Illustrates History with Feeling

Frustrated by the lack of recorded evidence of the lives of Black servicemen and women. Thompson produced this body of work by conducting interviews with war veterans. Weaving together, imagined emotions drawn from personal accounts of African West Indian soldiers, documentaries and books about war.
The Title, Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads highlights the unfair exchange between Britain, The Caribbean and Africa.

Throughout Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads, themes of racism in WW1 surface time and time again. Despite the efforts of African Caribbean service personnel, the frustrations of the soldiers and sailors, are obvious. Despite making their intention to serve, clear, they found themselves repeatedly spurned by the allied chain of command. A situation not too dissimilar from the experience of African American soldiers, or African troops serving with the French Armies.

Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads makes academic citations allowing the reader to further investigate the topic if they should so wish. As well as written books and papers, there is also a modern twist to the bibliography, citing online sources, including this website.

Whilst this is a book of poetry and not strictly history, it’s clear takeaway is the futility of war and the impact on fighting men and their families.

I would urge all readers of Black Presence to buy this book as a reminder of our contributions and of the sobering consequence of conflict.

Bayonets, Mangoes and Beads, Reviews

This book has a strong reliance on archive material and real-life histories, Bayonets mangoes and beads takes us into the hearts and minds of West Indian combatants in the first and second world wars.

The collection illuminates the experiences of African Caribbean soldiers in a variety of roles and campaigns.

Nairobi Thompson reveals the harsh challenges of the racism colonialism lintel or PTSD and trench warfare all the while cleverly aligning these forgotten soldiers realities with our own.

S. I, martin -Author

This collection of poems reflect a wide range of thoughts emotions and experiences which readers from all backgrounds will find something to identify with.

Lord Herman Ousley – Member of the House of Lords

In this collection of African – Diasporic voices in World War I and World War II Thompson offers a contemplative, poignant and challenging insight into the emotional and physical plight of those on the battlefield. Challenging precisely because she compels the reader to remember the role of race, to digest the importance of culture and to be mindful of the formative nature of identity and the ways in which these constructs intersecting the dramatic, bloody and soul destroying violence of war. Thompson’s observations lend sobering and if necessary insight into wars political contradictions and remind us how  whiteness, power and post-colonialism come to dismally shape and determine the experiences and futures of Black men and their loved ones.

DR. Nicola Roberts, University of Birmingham UK

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One thought on “Bayonets, Mangoes And Beads

  • 8th February 2017 at 3:14 am

    Several movies on this theme are certainly long overdue. Soldiers who fought in those 2 wars who were African/Caribbean/Black/ need their examples shown on film.


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