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

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*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 pionee *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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*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 pionee *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.

30 review for All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I purchased the hardcover copy of All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy a couple months ago for my library. As with many books I purchase, I had no desire to read it myself (this is a good thing or I'd be adding 100+ titles a month to my already-too-long TBR list, and that's not to mention all the books I add that I don't purchase for the library!).  Boxing and military careers aren't high on my list of interests and I thought this would be a boring I purchased the hardcover copy of All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard-Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy a couple months ago for my library. As with many books I purchase, I had no desire to read it myself (this is a good thing or I'd be adding 100+ titles a month to my already-too-long TBR list, and that's not to mention all the books I add that I don't purchase for the library!).  Boxing and military careers aren't high on my list of interests and I thought this would be a boring book for me. However, for the last few weeks, all of my library e-holds becoming available have been fiction. Now, I love a good story and I've had a terrific run of novels but my brain needs some substance too and it was positively screaming to be fed some facts. Something real, not made up. As none of the nonfiction books on my TBR list were available, off I headed to Overdrive to see what new nonfiction e-books my library had recently purchased and weren't already checked out. Scrolling through the most popular, I was becoming discouraged: Cookbooks, nope. Diet books? Unh-unh. Self-help books? Hell no! It was with some relief that I scrolled down to this one. Even though I didn't think it would be the best of choices for me, it was still something I could feed my brain so the hangry screams of "Feed me I'm starving" would cease.  Something scientific would have been preferable but at this point, I wasn't being picky. Just give me something nonfiction that wasn't about food or telling me how I could be oh so happy 100% of the time if I would just X, Y, and Z! Holy crapola was this book interesting!!!  How mistaken I was to think it would just be some mundane account of a guy who was a boxer and then flew military planes in World War I (turns out he did in WWII as well). Eugene Bullard was one amazing man who lived one amazing life. Wow!  Though not much is known of his early years, we learn how he ran away from home as a kid and made his way, eventually, to France. Born in the Jim Crow era in Georgia to a former slave and a Native American, Eugene wanted to escape the oppression and racism of the South. His father claimed that in France all men were treated equal and so that's where he went.   This book is about Mr. Bullard's incredible life and the numerous feats he accomplished. While still a teen, he stowed away on a ship to Europe where he became a boxer. This career aided him in his endeavors to reach France. There he began work in a night club and eventually co-owned a famous one of his own. People like Josephine Baker, "Bricktop", Cole Porter, Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Picasso, Man Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Sinatra, the Astaires, and many others frequented Le Grand Duc. When war broke out, Bullard signed up to fight for France and became the first African American military pilot in history. Disgustingly, had he been in America, he would have been denied this opportunity because he was black. Eugene Bullard won many awards for his bravery and military feats and when WWII rose on the horizon, he again signed up to fight for France. In between all this, Mr. Bullard married and had three children, played in a jazz band, and ran his club. Langston Hughes, upon arriving in France at the age of 22, was a dishwasher and waiter at Le Grand Duc, before publishing some of his poems and moving back to the US. Mr. Bullard was a friend to all, though had a short fuse when it came to racism, standing up for himself any time he encountered it. Thankfully things weren't as bad in Paris as they were in the US and Mr. Bullard was mostly treated as an equal to whites. He mainly had to deal with racism when white Americans would visit France, making it known how they hated to see Black people on an equal footing as whites. It's no wonder he had no desire to move back to the States. As noted in the book, "most Americans were quite content with black musicians entertaining them on stage and in the clubs, but they were not fine with African Americans walking off the stage, mingling with the patrons, sitting down to dine with them or, heaven forbid, dating or fraternizing with them." After France fell to the Nazis, Eugene was forced to return to the US where he became a civil rights activist.  He also played backup drums for Louis Armstrong and toured with him in Europe because he was trilingual and could help with booking accommodations.  There were so many intriguing events in Mr. Bullard's life, so many marvelous accomplishments! I now am surprised that I thought this book would be on the boring side. It is anything but boring. I particularly enjoyed when the author included excerpts from Mr. Bullard's unpublished autobiography, though it sometimes differed from official accounts. At times the writing was rough and the book could have been better edited. It's a 4.5 star rating because of that but as I usually round up, I'll give it 5. I'm so glad I didn't have any other NF to read and gave this one a try! Eugene Bullard deserves to have his story known and I think a movie about his life would be captivating. If you're looking for a book for Black History Month (February), this would be an excellent choice!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Eugene Bullard had an incredibly eventful life. Born in Georgia in 1895, he was one of 10 children of a Haitian American father and Creek mother. He grew up believing that France was a place where he would find equality and left home at the age of 12 to pursue his dream. He became the first African American fighter pilot and his plane was adorned with paintings of red, pierced hearts and the words “all blood that flows is red”. His list of endeavors is quite extensive including, boxer, musician, Eugene Bullard had an incredibly eventful life. Born in Georgia in 1895, he was one of 10 children of a Haitian American father and Creek mother. He grew up believing that France was a place where he would find equality and left home at the age of 12 to pursue his dream. He became the first African American fighter pilot and his plane was adorned with paintings of red, pierced hearts and the words “all blood that flows is red”. His list of endeavors is quite extensive including, boxer, musician, service in both world wars, spy for the French Resistance and nightclub owner. He was awarded numerous medals including the Croix de Guerre and knew Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Fred Astaire, Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Picasso and many others. While I found the story of Bullard’s life very interesting, there was a little too much speculation in the book about his thoughts, conversations, actions and motivations. He wrote an unpublished autobiography, and perhaps that was the source of some of this, but since I listened to the audiobook I have no idea if any of the sources for the book were footnoted. The author admits that some of the autobiography was fanciful, but he states that the basic facts of Bullard’s exploits were confirmed in each case by at least 2 sources and his war record was certainly real. Whatever the case, I’m glad that he is getting some deserved recognition in the US and this book would make a great movie.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Yesenia Juarez

    Outstanding story of these formidable men! Stories like these is what they should be teaching high school students not the other crap!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kimberlee (reading.wanderwoman)

    What an incredible story and what an incredible human being. It's one of those times I finished reading and wondered why I've never heard about him before. But there are so many reasons, many of which are listed in the book. All Blood Runs Red was originally supposed to be an autobiography, but unfortunately Gene passed away and poop it was never published. So in keeping with honoring him, Phil kept the original title. And I love it. I'm always fascinated by some people's ability to persevere. A What an incredible story and what an incredible human being. It's one of those times I finished reading and wondered why I've never heard about him before. But there are so many reasons, many of which are listed in the book. All Blood Runs Red was originally supposed to be an autobiography, but unfortunately Gene passed away and poop it was never published. So in keeping with honoring him, Phil kept the original title. And I love it. I'm always fascinated by some people's ability to persevere. And in the case of Gene Bullard, persevere is a massive understatement overcoming incredible odds. Running away from his home in Columbus, Georgia at the age of eleven and not looking back, he built a life for himself and made it all the way to the City of Lights. (ELEVEN! Could you imagine a child these days successfully running away at ELEVEN?!) Thankfully the early 1900s in Paris France was a far more liberal and welcoming city to people of all races and cultures (unlike Gene's hometown). Becoming a successful boxer, fighting in World War I. Becoming the first African American fighter pilot. A club owner and part-time musician (playing the drums). Then becoming part of the resistance during World War II and eventually fighting in World War II. After too many injuries it was time to finally come back to his home country. Did I mention how he also raised and protected 2 daughters as a single father? I don't want to give too much away but needless to say after 65 years Gene finally received some of the recognition he deserved, and even more so after his passing. After reading the book, you'll know he deserves far more recognition than he got. A highly recommended read for anyone who loves a real life hero story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cam

    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 int 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The incredible life story of Eugene Bullard, the first African American When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader. I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The incredible life story of Eugene Bullard, the first African American military pilot in WWI, who went on to become a self-taught jazz musician, 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. His five-year journey led him to a tramp steamer bound for Europe. There he discovered boxing, climbed the ranks and garnered worldwide fame as the “Black Sparrow.” At eighteen he settled in Paris as a beloved celebrity and bon vivant. A year later World War I broke out. Bullard joined the French Foreign Legion, where he went on to become the first African American fighter pilot in history. After the war, Bullard returned to Paris a decorated war hero and leveraged his celebrity to become a fixture of Parisian nightclub society. Hemingway and Fitzgerald drank champagne at his club. A young Langston Hughes worked as a busboy. He counted Picasso, Josephine Baker and Man Ray as friends. He married a French countess and they had two daughters. At the dawn of World War II, with echoes of Casablanca, Bullard became a French spy, drawing Nazi soldiers to his club and conducting crucial surveillance for the Allies. After fleeing Paris, he joined the Resistance before being safely smuggled onto a ship bound for America. He lived out the rest of his life in Harlem with his daughters, working for a time as an assistant for Louis Armstrong. All Blood Runs Red is the dramatic 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. This is an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life - I remember first reading about him on the History girls blog as his story was so incredible it could not have been written as fiction and been believed. Eugene was the definition of a patriot as he did anything and everything for his country but was punished for the colour of his skin. One hundred years later have things changed? He]] no! (What a great book club talking point!) This is a great read for any lover of history - it is meticulously researched but written for a general audience which basically means that it does not read like a textbook. I have read a lot of history textbooks and this one would have been wonderful to read as it is not dry and dusty - it is vibrant and engrossing. The expression "all blood runs red" was painted on his plane and is the title of several other biographies about Bullard - read this one! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it ✈✈✈✈ p.s. --- http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Schmidt

    I received an uncorrected proof through Goodreads First Reads and am very grateful for the opportunity. This is a very interesting and pulling biography, and I was fascinated with Bullard's complex story during the whole journey - from his early adventures with gypsies to that fateful conversation on the elevator. I think my only main issue with the book was that, while it is several hundred pages, it still seems a little brief. There's still plenty of detail, but at times I felt there could have I received an uncorrected proof through Goodreads First Reads and am very grateful for the opportunity. This is a very interesting and pulling biography, and I was fascinated with Bullard's complex story during the whole journey - from his early adventures with gypsies to that fateful conversation on the elevator. I think my only main issue with the book was that, while it is several hundred pages, it still seems a little brief. There's still plenty of detail, but at times I felt there could have been more. Plus, there were a few things that were left out. For instance, I never got a strong impression on exactly why Bullard enlisted for World War I, and the final chapter never stated the ultimate fate of Connell's biography of him. That said, I can understand the difficulties in gathering in-depth information on individuals, especially when much of his history has been unrecorded. All-in-all, this is a great biography that helps bring Bullard's colorful history to life. I was astounded at all the things he was involved in, and it is wonderful that he is getting a chance in the limelight.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Incredible story of an incredible life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Perfect for readers interested in American History, especially topics that have previously not received much or any attention. Written for the layman, this book was very interesting. I found myself captivated by the life story of Eugene Bullard, a person that was never mentioned in any history classes that I took. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advanced reading copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leia

    I’m so thankful for the work of researchers who have done the due diligence of honoring people like Eugene Bullard. One of the more entertaining and moving books I’ve read this year. Makes me equally proud and ashamed of our country.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aryn

    Eugene Bullard was a boxer, pilot, club impresario, and spy in the early to mid-twentieth century. With a life story ripe for a biopic, racism has long kept his story in the shadows. Bullard was the first African American fighter pilot, flying in World War I for France. A decorated war veteran, Bullard owned and managed a Parisian nightclub between the world wars, welcoming greats of the Jazz Age to his stage and as his guests. As the shadow of the Third Reich loomed, Bullard spied for France, g Eugene Bullard was a boxer, pilot, club impresario, and spy in the early to mid-twentieth century. With a life story ripe for a biopic, racism has long kept his story in the shadows. Bullard was the first African American fighter pilot, flying in World War I for France. A decorated war veteran, Bullard owned and managed a Parisian nightclub between the world wars, welcoming greats of the Jazz Age to his stage and as his guests. As the shadow of the Third Reich loomed, Bullard spied for France, garnering more honors. The latter years of his life were lived out in relative obscurity in the United States. So why hasn’t the story of Bullard made it big yet? Obviously, the systemic racism of the United States is the dominant reason. Another reason, likely with the same root cause, is the lack of source information. The authors are honest about this, and provide examples of times when Bullard’s own retelling of his story directly contradicts the remaining evidence, such as his report that his wife died after five years of marriage, when death records show that she outlived Bullard by a number of years. I occasionally found the book challenging because it was highly episodic and frequently took extended detours into the biographies of other individuals. The volume of detours, particularly in the first third to half of the book, often buried Bullard’s story. Those asides sometimes took the book from a biography towards a microhistory, addressing professional boxing at the beginning of the twentieth century and the Paris club scene in the 1920s and 1930s. Final verdict: An interesting story, but it suffers a bit in the telling. Recommend for those with a strong interest in biographies of little-known historical figures, with the understanding that source information is limited, so details may be more sparse than in biographies of more widely known individuals. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this work from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    I was introduced to Eugene Bullard back in 2018 when I read Charles Glass's Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation. I knew then & there, I had to learn more about this extraordinary man. At the time, the only book I could find was Eugene Bullard: World's First Black Fighter Pilot. To say Mr Greenly's book was a disappointment was an understatement. In fact, in my review I said, "If only someone would write a riveting biography worthy of the man Eugene Bullard was." Thankfully, I was introduced to Eugene Bullard back in 2018 when I read Charles Glass's Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation. I knew then & there, I had to learn more about this extraordinary man. At the time, the only book I could find was Eugene Bullard: World's First Black Fighter Pilot. To say Mr Greenly's book was a disappointment was an understatement. In fact, in my review I said, "If only someone would write a riveting biography worthy of the man Eugene Bullard was." Thankfully, the book gods were listening. ALL BLOOD RUNS RED is the biography that I was waiting for. Now, if only Ava DuVernay, Barry Jenkins, or Jordan Peele would take this on & turn Eugene Bullard's life into a movie. For Eugene Bullard is a truly remarkable man, who's story is larger than life, & someone who should never be forgotten.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Cook - A Book Ninja

    Eugene Bullard lived an extraordinary life. I found the story about Bullard to be fascinating and for his time, amazing. To think that a boy from a small Southern town riddled with prejudice, he accomplished great things. The writing felt a bit unpolished and rough this might have been intentional to match the story, I am not sure. If nothing else, I would recommend this book to anyone to learn more about this great American. I received an ARC of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own. Eugene Bullard lived an extraordinary life. I found the story about Bullard to be fascinating and for his time, amazing. To think that a boy from a small Southern town riddled with prejudice, he accomplished great things. The writing felt a bit unpolished and rough this might have been intentional to match the story, I am not sure. If nothing else, I would recommend this book to anyone to learn more about this great American. I received an ARC of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mich

    The biography of Eugene Bullard, the grandson of a slave, recounts his life as a boxer, pilot in WWI, jazz drummer, nightclub owner in Paris, and spy for the Resistance. The first African American pilot, born in Columbus, Ga with only a second grade education was a stowaway on a ship to Europe. Starting with boxing as a welterweight he eventually became associated with fast movers in the Paris scene. At times he knew all the famous writers such as Hemingway, Langston Hughes, and F. Scott Fitzger The biography of Eugene Bullard, the grandson of a slave, recounts his life as a boxer, pilot in WWI, jazz drummer, nightclub owner in Paris, and spy for the Resistance. The first African American pilot, born in Columbus, Ga with only a second grade education was a stowaway on a ship to Europe. Starting with boxing as a welterweight he eventually became associated with fast movers in the Paris scene. At times he knew all the famous writers such as Hemingway, Langston Hughes, and F. Scott Fitzgerald and artists and performers such as Josephine Baker, Cole Porter and Louis Armstrong.First and foremost he was a French war hero, wounded a number of times, who received 15 medals including the Legion of Honor. Shortly after France surrendered he was able to get to the US where he had a very subdued life employed as a cleaner, longshoreman, and elevator operator but always maintained his fight for civil rights. This book tells the story of a truly remarkable man.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Hollingsworth

    Fascinating.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    What an incredible story of the interesting life of Eugene Bullard, born in poverty in Columbus Georgia in 1895, He later became the first African-American military pilot during World War I and in history. He later became a nightclub manager in Paris and during World War II, worked with the French Resistance.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Howe

    Somebody should make a movie of this book, the story is so outlandish it's almost unbelievable. It's one of the most entertaining biographies I've read. I really like the fact that the author gives details about the folks that Mr. Bullard encounters in his journey. It's very well researched and the author goes into detail about discrepancies between the various facets of Eugene's history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    i enjoyed this book very much like others who reviewed this book i had never heard of this ma.n it was as well researched as can be expected but there was a little bit of padding with unneeded backstories at times and other times not enough sometimes you have to read footnotes to learn what happened to people in the book which irked me r.eceived for free on goodreads

  19. 4 out of 5

    June

    I had never even heard of Eugene Bullard before I read this book. His bravery and determination is truly inspiring, especially in the face of the many hardships he faced. It's amazing to consider that one person's life could take so many drastic turns, from poverty and prejudice in the American South to the itinerant life of a sailor, boxer, soldier, pilot, and even a spy. Moreover, his story sheds light on the African-American experience during this important time. So often our Black History Mo I had never even heard of Eugene Bullard before I read this book. His bravery and determination is truly inspiring, especially in the face of the many hardships he faced. It's amazing to consider that one person's life could take so many drastic turns, from poverty and prejudice in the American South to the itinerant life of a sailor, boxer, soldier, pilot, and even a spy. Moreover, his story sheds light on the African-American experience during this important time. So often our Black History Month curricula skip from the Emancipation Proclamation to Rosa Parks, with hardly a mention of those difficult decades in between. Eugene Bullard's spirit of self-determination in these difficult times is inspiring today. The biography may be a bit long and slow-paced for assigning to K-12 students, but excerpts would be a great addition to history and social studies lesson plans. Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC of this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Carlisle

    A well written and engaging accoint of a man I had heard of numerous times in multiple black history and boxing books, but whom, for some reason has never recieved his own in-depth biography until now. This man truly did it all as a Black man in both Europe and America. I enjoyed the writing style as it has a level of pizzazz to it that makes you not want to put the book down. I even found the back stories on background characters intriguing. The accounts of WWI and the battles Mr. Bullard took A well written and engaging accoint of a man I had heard of numerous times in multiple black history and boxing books, but whom, for some reason has never recieved his own in-depth biography until now. This man truly did it all as a Black man in both Europe and America. I enjoyed the writing style as it has a level of pizzazz to it that makes you not want to put the book down. I even found the back stories on background characters intriguing. The accounts of WWI and the battles Mr. Bullard took part in are covered in such an interesting way as well. A very good historical account that any and all should enjoy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    "All Blood Runs Red" is the improbable success story of Eugene Bullard. Born in Georgia in 1895 to the son / grandson of former slaves, and having what amounted to no more than a second grade education, the likelihood of breaking out of poverty and mingling with the Parisian elite sounds impossible. Yet that is his story. Bullard ran away from home at the age of 11, took on odd jobs for several years until he stowed away on a freighter to Europe. There, he did odd jobs, and eventually became a p "All Blood Runs Red" is the improbable success story of Eugene Bullard. Born in Georgia in 1895 to the son / grandson of former slaves, and having what amounted to no more than a second grade education, the likelihood of breaking out of poverty and mingling with the Parisian elite sounds impossible. Yet that is his story. Bullard ran away from home at the age of 11, took on odd jobs for several years until he stowed away on a freighter to Europe. There, he did odd jobs, and eventually became a professional boxer. Between fights, he also worked as a vaudeville performer. When war broke out in 1914, he wanted to fight for his adopted Country, and joined the French Foreign Legion. In WW I, he fought in the trench Battle at Verdun, and was seriously injured. After he recovered, he was unfit for ground combat, but volunteered for flight school, and became the first and only black combat pilot in WWI. He had two probable victories in air battles, downing two German planes, but due to the racial prejudice of an American advisor to the French air service, eventually was forced to return to his old infantry unit. After the war, he left the service, and learned to play the drums and worked in several jazz clubs in Paris. Eventually, he became a night club owner, rubbing shoulders with the Paris elite including the likes of Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and many more. In the 1930's when Hitler came to power in Germany, Bullard was enlisted as a spy for the French, and kept tabs on German military men who frequented his club. When WWII began, he again volunteered to fight the Germans, was injured again, and after recovering from his war wounds, escaped the German Army by making his way to Spain and Portugal, and returned to the United States. There, he moved to Harlem in NY, and unlike his life in Europe where blacks were welcomed into the fabric of society, Bullard had to face racial prejudice once again in the U.S. In France, he earned 15 combat medals, including the French Legion of Honor, and was well known and respected in French social circles. In 1954, he was one of three men chosen to relight the everlasting flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris. Later, he was made a knight of the Legion of Honor, the highest ranking order and decoration bestowed by France. In NY, he was an unknown man, and the only jobs he found were as a security guard, longshoreman, salesman, and elevator operator. Yet when French President DeGaulle came to the United States, he made a point to invite Bullard to a gala in New York, and to salute him for his service to France. After the DeGaulle recognition, he appeared on the Today show, and Elanor Roosevelt wrote about his story. Bullard's story is a true success story, one about a person who started with nothing, but worked hard and succeeded in everything he did. Unfortunately, with discrimination against blacks in his home country and with Jim Crow laws, he had to go to France to find acceptance and success. His would be a good story for Black History Month.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Military Writers Society of America (MWSA)

    MWSA Review In the biography of Eugene Bullard, All Blood Runs Red, authors Phil Keith and Tom Clavin give us an excellent glimpse into the life of a truly fascinating individual. At first glance, Bullard's life story seems to be more of what creates legends or movies than what a single person could experience. He may be one of the most important Americans who lived in the twentieth century, but most of us today have little or no knowledge of him. Born in Georgia in 1895, the grandson of a slave MWSA Review In the biography of Eugene Bullard, All Blood Runs Red, authors Phil Keith and Tom Clavin give us an excellent glimpse into the life of a truly fascinating individual. At first glance, Bullard's life story seems to be more of what creates legends or movies than what a single person could experience. He may be one of the most important Americans who lived in the twentieth century, but most of us today have little or no knowledge of him. Born in Georgia in 1895, the grandson of a slave and son of a laborer, Bullard ran away from home during his early teen years and somehow managed to work his way to France over the next couple of years. For the next forty years, he lived for the most part in Paris before returning to the United States. Bullard fought for the French in World War I, first in the infantry and then—after being injured—as a fighter pilot. Before and after that war, he was a boxer, a musician, and a night club owner. He became friends with a plethora of celebrities to include Hemmingway, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Fred Astaire, and more. As World War II approached, he spied on the Germans for the French intelligence service. When the Germans reached Paris, he returned to the front and fought again with the French infantry. Bullard received numerous French medals to include the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. This is a good book that I recommend you read. Review by Bob Doerr (May 2020)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    What an interesting and colorful life led by Eugene Bullard. This tells of his growing up and leaving Georgia so he can get to Paris where his father tells him their is equality and acceptance regardless of skin color. We learn of his service to France in WWI then again in WWII as well as his time in Paris between the wars. He met so many people who have become big names in the mid-1900's. I had no idea Mr. Bullard existed until reading this book. He did so much that was newsworthy but unfortuna What an interesting and colorful life led by Eugene Bullard. This tells of his growing up and leaving Georgia so he can get to Paris where his father tells him their is equality and acceptance regardless of skin color. We learn of his service to France in WWI then again in WWII as well as his time in Paris between the wars. He met so many people who have become big names in the mid-1900's. I had no idea Mr. Bullard existed until reading this book. He did so much that was newsworthy but unfortunately he never got the recognition he should have through his life. The narrators were present at times to clarify the story. I also liked the bibliography at the end. This books is more than a biography. It is also a history of times from 1895-1966 from the United States to France during WWI and WWII and between those wars as well as after. I liked that the French Flying Corps was explained as well as those who flew and died. Insight is given into so much of what happened with the French military in both wars and what the population knew vs what the government knew. I also enjoyed The American ex-pats that showed in Paris and in Mr. Bullard's club. It's a who's who of a time not often taught in U.S. schools.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Micebyliz

    I had heard of this man from other books i read, but was glad to read more of his life. I was disappointed though, because i felt most of this book was patronizing and a bit slimy. It was obvious that it was written by white men. This is not to say it couldn't have been and been good, but it was the undercurrent i felt that was off. (and yeah, perhaps i have no idea what i'm saying) Did it really matter so much that he was awarded all those medals? of course. but it doesn't mean that because of I had heard of this man from other books i read, but was glad to read more of his life. I was disappointed though, because i felt most of this book was patronizing and a bit slimy. It was obvious that it was written by white men. This is not to say it couldn't have been and been good, but it was the undercurrent i felt that was off. (and yeah, perhaps i have no idea what i'm saying) Did it really matter so much that he was awarded all those medals? of course. but it doesn't mean that because of them he should be treated with respect and the dignity that any man deserves and that's what i felt the book was saying--that without the medals he was just any black man who otherwise was invisible, especially in those days except when someone wanted to pick on them. I knew about most of the other people in this book from other readings too, and it's always interesting to find out other tidbits of their lives. I feel badly that this book missed the mark on Mr. Bullard, as did this country.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    I'm not sure when I first heard about Eugene Bullard, but he's been on my radar for a while. I find myself telling people about him, this first African American fighter pilot who served in WWI. Unfortunately, I was only ever able to find limited information about him, a blurb in a textbook here, brief mention in an aviation history website there. Fortunately, Phil Keith and Tom Clavin (not listed as an author here, not sure why), have corrected this. And Bullard's life is even more amazing than I'm not sure when I first heard about Eugene Bullard, but he's been on my radar for a while. I find myself telling people about him, this first African American fighter pilot who served in WWI. Unfortunately, I was only ever able to find limited information about him, a blurb in a textbook here, brief mention in an aviation history website there. Fortunately, Phil Keith and Tom Clavin (not listed as an author here, not sure why), have corrected this. And Bullard's life is even more amazing than I imagined! A very engaging read, biography that reads like a novel. The book is well researched and the events are put into context for fuller understanding. I would highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in African American history, early 20th century history, Paris in the 20s, French history, American history, WWI/WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, jazz, the list goes on, there's really something for everyone.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janis

    I became interested in WWI in 2018 when the library had many programs centered around the centennial of that war. I was particularly thinking intrigued by the American men that flew for France prior to US entry into the war. I ran across the story of Eugene Bullard at that time & was delighted to find this book about him. He led a much more amazing life than I ever dreamed. His story would make a fantastic movie & I would be there to see it on opening night. I wasn’t that wild about the writing I became interested in WWI in 2018 when the library had many programs centered around the centennial of that war. I was particularly thinking intrigued by the American men that flew for France prior to US entry into the war. I ran across the story of Eugene Bullard at that time & was delighted to find this book about him. He led a much more amazing life than I ever dreamed. His story would make a fantastic movie & I would be there to see it on opening night. I wasn’t that wild about the writing style of this book, but any book about this man would get a 5 star review from me. I can’t begin to imagine what he could have accomplished without the restraint of racism holding him back all his life.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elisha

    Before reading this, I had no idea who Eugene Bullard was, but as the title said, his life was truly legendary. It was astonishing how many victories he achieved against the odds and how much he suffered, and this biography did an excellent job of combining what few sources on his life exist into one cohesive, informative book. The writing itself, however, was not so legendary. I felt like I was reading a Wikipedia page due to the forced, clipped language, and I often cringed at the cliche descr Before reading this, I had no idea who Eugene Bullard was, but as the title said, his life was truly legendary. It was astonishing how many victories he achieved against the odds and how much he suffered, and this biography did an excellent job of combining what few sources on his life exist into one cohesive, informative book. The writing itself, however, was not so legendary. I felt like I was reading a Wikipedia page due to the forced, clipped language, and I often cringed at the cliche descriptions. If Bullard's life wasn't half as intriguing as it was, I probably would have put this book down early on.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angela Yazzolino

    Eugene Bullard lived an extremely interesting life. When I was choosing a book to read, I picked this one because it seemed interesting enough to stay engaged but boring. I was wrong. Eugene had a massive heart and a will to so good. Throughout the book, I was always engaged. From his pilot flying in World War I to him being a boxer, they all tied together. I thought this book was quite interesting from the start. It begins with him at war when his plane goes down into what he thought were enemy Eugene Bullard lived an extremely interesting life. When I was choosing a book to read, I picked this one because it seemed interesting enough to stay engaged but boring. I was wrong. Eugene had a massive heart and a will to so good. Throughout the book, I was always engaged. From his pilot flying in World War I to him being a boxer, they all tied together. I thought this book was quite interesting from the start. It begins with him at war when his plane goes down into what he thought were enemy lines but ended up being the French side. I was throughly engaged the entire time. I would recommend this book to a friend.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    A poorly written story about Eugene Bullard, the First African American Fighter Pilot. Bullard definately was a Hero and deserved all of the honors and recognition he received. However, as the Authors freely admit, "therewere relativelyfew sources of information available about Eugene Bullard's ledgendary life" thus, the book contains a great deal of speculative information. In addition, the Authors state "we have to accept the reality that 100 percent reliability as to the finite details of Bull A poorly written story about Eugene Bullard, the First African American Fighter Pilot. Bullard definately was a Hero and deserved all of the honors and recognition he received. However, as the Authors freely admit, "therewere relativelyfew sources of information available about Eugene Bullard's ledgendary life" thus, the book contains a great deal of speculative information. In addition, the Authors state "we have to accept the reality that 100 percent reliability as to the finite details of Bullard's life was then and is now impossible." So, expect a lot of conjecture alsoughout the book. Very disappointing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    I received this book as an uncorrected proof copy from Goodreads. What an incredible life Eugene Bullard led! From his childhood in Georgia, to his time in France for WWI and the beginning of WWII, to his time in New York City later in life, Eugene showed an amazing amount of tenacity as he moved from one phase of his life to the next. It really is too bad that Eugene’s story is not better known in US History. I would have given this book a 4 or 5 based on the story of Eugene’s life, but only ga I received this book as an uncorrected proof copy from Goodreads. What an incredible life Eugene Bullard led! From his childhood in Georgia, to his time in France for WWI and the beginning of WWII, to his time in New York City later in life, Eugene showed an amazing amount of tenacity as he moved from one phase of his life to the next. It really is too bad that Eugene’s story is not better known in US History. I would have given this book a 4 or 5 based on the story of Eugene’s life, but only gave it a 3 based on some of the choppy writing. I highly recommend this book If you are looking for a quick, interesting non-fiction read.

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