Nancy Ellen Lawler is Professor Emeritus of Economics and History at Oakton Community College. She is the author of Soldiers of Misfortune: Ivoirien Tirailleurs of World War II, and, with John Hunwick, co-editor of A Cloth of Many Colored Silks. Dr. Lawler currently lives in Wales and continues to work on West African history.
The Gold Coast became important to the Allied war effort in WWII, necessitating the creation of elaborate propaganda and espionage networks, the activities of which ranged from rumor-mongering to smuggling and sabotage.
This is a study of the African veterans of a European war. It is a story of men from the Cote d‘Ivoire, many of whom had seldom traveled more than a few miles from their villages, who served France as tirailleurs (riflemen) during World War II. Thousands of them took part in the doomed attempt to hold back the armies of the Third Relch in 1940; many were to spend the rest of the war as prisoners in Germany or Occupied France.