Undying Glory Critical Context - Essay

Clinton Cox

Critical Context

Undying Glory is the first notable book for young adult readers to focus specifically on the participation of black troops in the Civil War. It is a significant contribution to this largely untold history, providing African American readers with heroic models and nonblacks with the opportunity to identify with these unheralded participants in the war. Hailed for its contribution to the history of the Civil War and described as moving, articulate, and thought-provoking by major reviewers, this book has found a place of regard on the bookshelves of both the newly interested and the historically informed. Young adult readers will find that it serves as a excellent introduction to other volumes from which it was drawn, such as A Brave Black Regiment (1894, 1968), Luis Emilio’s eyewitness account of the 54th regiment. The motion picture Glory (1991) draws on the same events, and, although somewhat lacking in historical accuracy, it has helped develop interest in black Civil War soldiers and motivated many readers to take advantage of Clinton Cox’s well-researched and exciting account of the same events.

Cox was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and his journalistic background is evident in this well-written, balanced, and carefully researched book. As a child, Cox listened to his father tell about his experiences in World War II. He developed an interest in writing about black Civil War soldiers because, like the stories told to him by his father, they were a part of “untold history.”