Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

The work for this book began in 2000. I have therefore incurred innumerable debts to many amiable scholars, archivists, and librarians. This project could not have been completed without the generous financial support of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. The foundation’s directors and committee members enabled me to focus on completing the manuscript. In particular, I am extremely...

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Introduction: "Sherman Was Right"

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pp. 1-15

On 27 February 2011, the last US World War I veteran, Corporal Frank W. Buckles, passed away at the age of 110. With his passing, the Great War moved from memory to history in the United States. Lost too was any opportunity to ask these veterans the question that drives this monograph: What motivated World War I doughboys, whether volunteer or conscript, to answer their country’s call?1...

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1. The Great Adventure

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pp. 16-40

The war had been raging in Europe for almost three and a half years before the doughboys arrived in France—brave, eager, and naïve. Similar to most of their European brethren, American men had become intoxicated with excitement at their country’s declaration of war.1 The horrors of Verdun and the Somme did not deter these raw young recruits from what they thought would be a great adventure—...

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2. "Gimme da Gun"

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pp. 41-60

The enduring popular image of the doughboy is that of a disillusioned, shell-shocked soldier who returned home only to find himself out of place, broken in spirit, and robbed of his manhood by the gruesome war. Nearly 100 years later, the term the Lost Generation, attributed to Gertrude Stein and made famous by Ernest Hemingway,...

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3. Wooden Weapons

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pp. 61-77

For many of the doughboys, life in an army camp was a new experience. Only those with National Guard or comparable military service knew what to expect when they arrived at training camp. The army had established thirty-two such camps, located predominantly in the eastern and southern states, each named after a famous American commander; additional camps were set up for officers, marines, and...

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4. Across the Pond

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pp. 78-97

The Atlantic was U-boat territory. German submarines made the seas a dangerous battleground during the war, above all for Allied merchant shipping. This was especially true after 18 February 1915, when Germany allowed its U-boats to sink Allied merchant ships at will. This tactic had devastating results. In 1915, after the sinking of the Lusitania on 7 May and the Arabic on 19 August (both carrying American...

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5. The Supreme Test

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pp. 98-131

Vera Brittain, a young British woman from an affluent family, left Oxford in 1915 to serve as a nurse during the war. While working at a hospital in France, she watched as soldiers marched along the road that ran through the hospital’s camp. At first, Brittain believed the troops to be colonial or British, but something about their “unusual quality of bold vigour” made her observe them more closely. “They...

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6. "Would Not Take Anything for It"

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pp. 132-159

“Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” 1 In war, what could be simpler than returning home after enduring months of rigorous training and vicious combat? It sounds simple—go home and take up your previous life. But for the thousands of men ordered to stay in Europe, the Great War continued, and not...

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Conclusion: "If It Has to Come I Am Here"

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pp. 160-176

Why was Sherman right? And why did so many young men think so only after they returned from the Great War? What factors cloaked the reality of the front lines—battles that were reported on and photographed extensively before the United States entered the war—and perpetuated a romantic vision of war instead?...

Appendix A: Unpacking the Source

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pp. 177-200

Appendix B: Biographies

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pp. 201-222

Notes

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pp. 223-258

Bibliography

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pp. 259-292

Index

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pp. 293-308

Back Cover

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