Not Only War
A Story of Two Great Conflicts
Victor Daly. edited by David A. Davis
Not Only War: A Story of Two Great Conflicts is the only World War I novel written by an African American veteran. In the book, Montgomery Jason, an idealistic African American college student, enlists to fight for freedom and democracy. When he falls in love with a French woman, he learns that freedom and democracy do not apply to black soldiers.
Victor Daly wrote Not Only War in the midst of a major shift in America’s racial dynamics. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans moved from the South to the North to work in wartime industries, and thousands more joined the American Expeditionary Force. Daly was among a small group of African Americans who trained as officers. He saw combat in France and was decorated for his service there.
After the war, when racial violence in America escalated, Daly and many other returning soldiers fought for civil rights. During the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans used literature to make the case for equality. In Not Only War, Daly portrays the effects of the color line on black soldiers in the segregated military. The two great conflicts in the book are the physical combat of war and the psychological combat of racism.In addition to the original content of Not Only War, this paperback reprint includes three short stories and a previously published interview, as well as an introduction by David A. Davis.
Victor Daly graduated from Cornell University in 1919. He received the Croix de Guerre for his service in France during World War I. He later worked for the Urban League in New York, for the Journal of Negro History, and for the U.S. Department of Labor. David A. Davis is Assistant Professor of English and Southern Studies at Mercer University.