Agent—c/o Author Mail, Palgrave Macmillan, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Writer and journalist. Detroit News, Detroit, MI, former investigative reporter.
Unity Award in Media, 2002, forDetroit News series "American Indian Rule: Sovereignty Abused."
(With Melvin Claxton) Uncommon Valor: A Story of Race, Patriotism, and Glory in the Final Battles of the Civil War, John Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2006.
Mark Puls is a journalist and former investigative reporter for the Detroit News. His first book, Uncommon Valor: A Story of Race, Patriotism, and Glory in the Final Battles of the Civil War, written with Melvin Claxton, was called "an important contribution to American and Civil War history" by Carol M. Swain in the Tennessean Online. The authors tell the story of the a unit of fourteen African-American soldiers who fought with the 4th Maryland U.S. Colored Troops Regiments in a critical Civil War battle. Reconstructed from primary documentary sources and accounts from correspondence, diaries, and military records, the story is told from the point of view of one member of the unit, Christian Fleetwood. The authors describe the hard-fought combat and the bravery that earned Fleetwood and the other members of the unit a Congressional Medal of Honor for their role in the battle of New Market Heights, Virginia, in 1864. Fleetwood himself was an educated man who had worked as a shipping clerk in Baltimore, and who rose to the rank of sergeant major, the highest rank a black man could hold in the Union army. Puls and Claxton make it clear that many thousands of black soldiers fought in the Civil War, and on both sides of the conflict—an estimated 200,000 total, with more than 50,000 fighting on the Confederate side.
A Publishers Weekly critic commented that the "account suffers from its paucity of primary black voices, and it's too short to be definitive." However, Puls and Claxton "re-create the suffering and sacrifice of black men battling not only rebel enemies" but also the virulent racism they encountered from the military men who fought on the same side, noted Thomas J. Davis in Library Journal. Swain called the book a "riveting, true story that should be read by anyone interested in neglected areas of Civil War history, black history, and American history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, November 15, 2005, Thomas J. Davis, review of Uncommon Valor: A Story of Race, Patriotism, and Glory in the Final Battles of the Civil War, p. 76.
Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2005, review ofUncommon Valor, p. 57.
Tennessean Online,http://www.tennessean.com/(April 16, 2006), Carol M. Swain, "Black Military Heroes of Civil War Get Their Due," review ofUncommon Valor.