Richard Faulkner’s incredible work on the doughboys of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) is imminently timely. …an extremely well researched and detailed account written by an Army veteran and World War I scholar…. It is based on the models of Bell Irvin Wiley’s The Life of Johnny Reb and The Life of Billy Yank, which makes it very readable and interesting…
Faulkner traces the steps of soldiers from their basic training until their discharge from active service. What should be readily apparent is that two million men of the AEF had two million perspectives of their experiences. While there are commonalities, the reader finds that each doughboy experienced something different as units were formed, broken apart, reformed, deployed, retrained, committed to action, committed to occupation duty, and then redeployed in different situations. Amazingly, most of this happened in the span of just over two years.
The Herculean efforts to raise, train, deploy, operate, and redeploy a huge force on very short timelines is a tribute to American know-how and ingenuity. What is also apparent is the total unpreparedness of the U.S. Army to fight in a modern, industrialized war. Faulkner covers the “down-side” of the doughboys’ experiences as well. The lack of trained leaders, the reliance on British and French trainers, the use of British and French armaments, and the complete unpreparedness to deal with chemical warfare are but a few of the issues covered….
Pershing’s Crusaders superbly adds to the body of knowledge regarding American soldiers and marines in World War I.
Abridged from the book review by Lt. Col. Edwin L. Kennedy Jr., U.S. Army, Retired and is reprinted with the permission of Military Review, the Professional Journal of the US Army, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was originally published in the June 2017 Military Review Online Book Review.
Histories of the Eastern Front in WW1 written and published in the West have relied upon German and Austrian sources, supplemented by writings of Russian exiles. David Stone was able to access Russian archives, including Soviet staff studies published after 1918, but he admits that some statistical data are still difficult if not impossible to obtain due to disorganized record keeping and the chaos of the revolution.
This is an illuminating and outstanding source book, as well as an engaging narrative of a major theater of the war not well known and underappreciated. Russia’s importance is evident in Germany’s decision to keep 47 of its 89 divisions in the East despite the launch of attacks in the West in the spring of 1918. Even in defeat, Russia played a role in weakening Germany’s offensive ability.
The review in The Journal of Military History noted that Stone “very deftly weaves into the narrative what the forces of the Central Powers were doing in reaction to and in anticipation of Russian strategy and tactics.”
This is the first book-length account of the Carpathian campaign of 1915, described by some as the “Stalingrad of the First World War.” It was also the first English-language account of WW1 Eastern Front military operations in more than 30 years.
Tunstall did research in Vienna’s and Budapest’s War Archives, and his narrative incorporates material drawn from eyewitness accounts, personal diaries, army logbooks, and correspondence among members of the high command. He shows that the roots of the Habsburg collapse in Russia in 1916 were established in the winter campaign of 1915. Its accolades and Tomlinson award were well deserved.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI
The U.S. Army War College Quarterly Parameters: “The book is a detailed case study, based on extensive primary source research, of an attempt to devise a viable strategy to meet drastically-changed, unforeseen conditions with impending crisis….”
New York Military Affairs Symposium, NYMAS Review: “In giving a full account of the winter war, Tunstall has rendered a vital service to our understanding of World War I. This is a must book for experts and novices alike.”
Len's Summary: The Russian and Austro-Hungarian armies each suffered about a million casualties in this disastrous series of three offensives which paved the way for the disintegration of the Habsburg army. Dr. Tunstall is executive Director of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and chairs WFA’s Undergraduate Essay Prize award panel.
Len's Summary: Combined German and Austro-Hungarian attacks quickly defeated the Romanian Army in 1916 obliging her allies to devote considerable force to staving off total Romanian collapse and attempting to prevent the Germans from seizing Romanian oil. One of a growing number books available in English on the Eastern Front and the Balkan Peninsula in WWI.
Len's Summary: The history of the ten thousand men, part of the Second Division AEF, who made up the only large Marine unit to fight in World War One. The author is a Marine veteran with several other books under his belt.
Len's Summary: Thanks in large measure to expert (and often bilingual) French instructors a core of four 28,000-man divisions of the American army was ready to join the French in blunting and then reversing the final German push on Paris at the Marne in July 1918. It is in the resounding German setback on the Marne of July 18, 1918 – not their August 8th defeat by the British at Amiens – that Bruce finds the beginning of the end for German arms on the Western Front.
Ambassador Shurtleff, a retired American Foreign Service officer who served as President of The World War One Historical Association and as a past President of The Western Front Association – U S Branch, passed away on January 22, 2014. The searchable version of Len’s Bookshelf was created and will be maintained in his honor.