Connecticut Author Mark Perlman at Downtown Bookstore, Feb. 18

Connecticut Author Mark Perlman at Downtown Bookstore, Feb. 18

Author Mark Perlman and cover of his book, The Reluctant Soldier.

Perlman's book, The Reluctant Soldier, takes readers on a tour of war, romance, murder, and the jazz culture of interwar Paris during the time of Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway.

Mark Perlman, author of a new historical novel, The Reluctant Soldier, will host a Meet and Greet on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore.

The Reluctant Soldier follows the adventures and misadventures of Virgil Carpenter, a teacher at the City College of New York, who becomes an unwitting combatant in World War I and joins the famous Negro regiment, the "Harlem Hellfighters." Perlman's fictionalized story draws his main character into the most important events of the 20th century, and offers an extremely rich documentation of Black Americans in the 369th Infantry Regiment.

Perlman's novel addresses the difficult legacy of racial segregation and prejudice faced by African Americans during the war and post-war years. It also addresses the slow but steady progress of Black minorities to be accepted and valued in the complex American culture.

Perlman spent more than 10 years researching the background for The Reluctant Soldier. He traveled to France five times — visiting Paris, the Western front, the French military archives, and the Champagne region. In the U.S., he researched at New York City libraries, the Virginia Military Institute, the U.S. Army War College, and in Fredericksburg, Va., drawing inspiration for the book from a number of books, articles, movies, and documentaries.

Perlman is a resident of Fairfield County, Conn. The French language version of the The Reluctant Soldier has been published in Europe under the title Le Soldat Involontaire. For more information about the author and book, visit TheReluctantSoldier.com.

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