George Brummell grew up in the 1950s in a small, segregated farm community on Maryland's Eastern Shore where he lived and worked with his grandmother, hoeing cucumbers in the hot sun and packing tomatoes in the local cannery.
At 17, he joined the Army for a rowdy Korean tour followed by Vietnam deployment in 1966 in the midst of a bloody Vietcong offensive. A staff sergeant in the Army's 25th Infantry Division, he saw his men picked off by snipers until his luck ran out: a landmine blinded him and shattered his arm.
Over the next 30 years he learned to live–and love–in the darkness, earned a bachelor's degree, and rose up the ranks to become National Field Service Director of the Blinded Veterans Association and an inspiring public speaker.
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The picture on the cover of the book is with my fellow grunts in Korea in 1962, wearing hats borrowed from some paratroopers so we'd look more commanding! I'm on the lower left. Above, also in Korea, at a more dignified moment.
SHADES OF DARKNESS
by George E. Brummell
A rowdy, honest, uplifting story of a black soldier's
journey through Vietnam, blindness, and back