Q: Okay, so what's the skinny on Almond's racism?
A: The big takeaway from my biography is that yes, absolutely, from a societal perspective based on the standards of today, Almond was a racist.
But many who see the World War II period as a golden era don't always want to confront this truth: the Greatest Generation was racist. Almond was racist because the nation was racist. We don't like to think about our heroes, our fathers, and grandfathers as being racist, but they lived in a society that had enshrined segregation as the law of the land. I might add that context is important, because they knew nothing else. They would not have considered themselves racist, because by the standards of the day, they were not.
Q: With the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman and the subsequent widespread Black Lives Matter protests, it certainly is a challenging time to have a book about a racist coming out. So why did you write about him now?
A: Now is the perfect time to talk about the environment of Almond's time. We tend to think we've grown beyond the endemic and pervasive racism of that time, but the racial problems of the last couple of years prove that is not true. We also tend to think that those problems only existed in the South, but that also isn't true. The whole country was segregated, and neither the North or South wanted a large unit with black Soldiers nearby. There were several instances of police violence against soldiers.