Ten Stars is a nonfiction narrative -- part biography, part oral history -- of the life story of Gary Cooper, an African American born in the depths of Jim Crow to an Alabama family that challenged the rule of segregation. The Cooper extended family, described in interludes at points within the book, has made a national mark in politics, arts, education, health care, and the military. Graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1958 as one of three African Americans in a class of 1,500, Cooper went on to become the U.S. Marines' first black commander of a combat infantry company in Vietnam. He later became the Corps' first black general from Infantry, an Alabama state legislator and governor's cabinet official, an Air Force civilian four-star who promoted the Tuskegee Airmen, and the first black U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica.