Taxpayer funds supplied 285 books for the U.S. Navy in August with topics ranging from the mundane to the more unusual, including one on the cultural role of the black superhero, according to an August contract.
The contract awarded a book provider more than $120,000 for the delivery to the Navy's Fleet Logistics Center in Philadelphia.
Most of the titles were history- or science-based, including The Atlantic in World History and The Ecology of Snow and Ice Environments. Stretching For Dummies and Rugby For Dummies were also requested for delivery.
One nonhistory title included was Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes, which “reveals how black superheroes are not disposable pop products” and have a “role outside of Blaxploitation film contexts,” according to its description.
The request listed Annapolis, Md., home of the U.S. Naval Academy, as the final destination, but didn't specifically name the institution.
This is not the first time the U.S. military made interesting book purchases in recent history.
In 2008, the U.S. Air Force contracted the Lincoln Group to produce and distribute 12 issues of a comic book series called "6th Brigade" for an amount “not anticipated to exceed $2,400,000.00.”
The series was designed to “enhance the public perception of the Iraqi Security Forces as a capable, well-trained, and professional fighting force.” The award was listed as “research and development.”
The documents showing the contracts were released in a Freedom of Information Act request by the Sunlight Foundation.