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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 pioneer *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 pioneer *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

    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.

  2. 4 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. 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.

  3. 4 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 military 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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, 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Incredible story of an incredible life.

  8. 4 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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 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!

  11. 4 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.

  12. 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 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.

  13. 4 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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Mijangos

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book details the life of Eugene Bullard, the first African American pilot. He lived a fascinating and eventful life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Peter L

    All Blood Runs Red relates a most unusual life story. Eugene Ballard runaway to France because he hoped he could be free. He arrived in time to serve in the France Foreign Legion before becoming a fighter pilot. And that was his early life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    booksbythecup

    Thanks to publisher Hanover Square Press for the free review copy. What a pleasure to learn about this remarkable man.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bookclubbish

    Categories Military Biographies & Autobiographies, Historical Biographies & Autobiographies, 20th Century United States History

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    Very interesting life story but poorly written.

  19. 4 out of 5

    S M

    I really liked the content of the book. I did the audio version and it was very clean.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Marcu

    4.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Harriet Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    M.E

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Weber

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  25. 4 out of 5

    J Youngblood

  26. 5 out of 5

    Demetress

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denzel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bree Dumont

  30. 4 out of 5

    Edward Gardner

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