Cover Image: Invisible No More

Invisible No More

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Member Reviews

I grew up reading Scott Pitoniak in my hometown newspaper, and he was one of my inspirations to become a sports writer myself. What I enjoy most about his writing now, especially in Invisible No More, is that his passion for the sports of Western/Upstate New York has not been deterred. This book expertly weaves an intriguing story about a young journalist finding their own way in an industry that isn't always welcome to African-Americans or women with the forgotten history of Wilmeth Sidat-Singh. What a fascinating way to bring an extremely accomplished person to life! Very well-done.

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This was a historic novel about the extraordinary, yet brief, life of black athlete turned Tuskegee airman Wilmeth Sidat-Singh.

Like many, I had never heard of Sidat-Singh, but I truly enjoyed the authors’ piecing together of his impressive life in this novel. Born in Washington, DC, following the death of his father and his mother’s remarriage to a man originally from India, Sidat-Singh took on his adoptive father’s name and moved to Harlem where he experienced the Harlem Renaissance, meeting and befriending Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and the boxer Joe Louis.

In addition to being a bright student, Sidat-Singh was a gifted athlete, and he was recruited to play basketball for Syracuse University, eventually playing both basketball and becoming quarterback for football – in addition to studying medicine. But, even if not in the Jim Crow south, northern campuses like Syracuse were not at all welcoming to black students in the 1930s – even those who put their sports teams on the map and handed them victories over national sports powerhouses.

The novel does an excellent job of following Sidat-Singh’s life and allowing us to view the enormous strength of character and perseverance it took for Sidat-Singh to achieve all he did in the face of racism aimed at him both as a student-athlete and as a military pilot. The authors invent an investigative journalist who digs into the life of this long-forgotten, trailblazing athlete and military pilot, and the novel is fascinating and easy to read.
My one complaint is that the dialogue frequently feels more like “info dump” than natural speech, and I felt those facts could have been better worked into the narrative for better flow.

That said, however, this is still a compelling sports story that will interest even a non-sports audience interested in first-hand accounts of the vibrancy of the black community in the 1920s and 1930s and the insurmountable challenges they often faced in a racist society – and how those circumstances made Sidat-Singh’s achievements even more impressive. A highly enjoyable read that deserves an audience far beyond just readers of sports literature.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy - all thoughts are my own.

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Wilmeth Sidat-Singh grew up in Upper Manhattan where he was introduced to many of the great African American minds of his generation.

He was gifted in many sports and given a full scholarship to the school of his choice. He was the star football player at the University of Syracuse but was not allowed to suit up to play against the University of Maryland. Syracuse lost its’ game that year because of the prejudicial benching of their star athlete. U of M had discovered he was black rather than Indian which his name implied.

After excelling in sports and just about everything he attempted, Sidat-Singh signed up for training as a black aviator with the Tuskegee all-black training squadron. His ability in the air and seemingly impossible maneuvers with an aircraft helped to mold the Tuskegee Airmen into one of the best fighter pilot squadrons in America.

Sidat-Singh was tragically killed in a training accident. 5 stars – CE Williams

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