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Unjustly Dishonored Cover

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Unjustly Dishonored

An African American Division in World War I

Robert H. Ferrell

 

        For nearly one hundred years, the 92nd Division of the U.S. Army in World War I has been remembered as a military failure. The division should have been historically significant. It was the only African American division of the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Comprised of nearly twenty-eight thousand black soldiers, it fought in two sectors of the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the largest and most costly battle in all of U.S. history. Unfortunately, when part of the 368th Infantry Regiment collapsed in the battle’s first days, the entire division received a blow to its reputation from which it never recovered.   

 

  
 
            In Unjustly Dishonored: An African American Division in World War I, Robert H. Ferrell challenges long-held assumptions and asserts that the 92nd, in fact, performed quite well militarily. His investigation was made possible by the recent recovery of a wealth of records by the National Archives. The retrieval of lost documents allowed access to hundreds of pages of interviews, mostly from the 92nd Division’s officers, that had never before been considered. In addition, the book uses the Army’s personal records from the Army War College, including the newly discovered report on the 92nd’s field artillery brigade by the enthusiastic commanding general.

 

 
In the first of its sectors, the Argonne, the 92nd took its objective. Its engineer regiment was a large success, and when its artillery brigade got into action, it so pleased its general that he could not praise it enough. In the attack of General John J. Pershing’s Second Army during the last days of the war, the 92nd captured the Bois Frehaut, the best performance of any division of the Second Army.

 

 
            This book is the first full-length account of the actual accomplishments of the 92nd Division. By framing the military outfit’s reputation against cultural context, historical accounts, and social stigmas, the authorproves that the 92nd Division did not fail and made a valuable contribution to history that should, and now finally can, be acknowledged. Unjustly Dishonored fills a void in the scholarship on African American military history and World War I studies.

Unknown Soldiers Cover

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Unknown Soldiers

The American Expeditionary Forces in Memory and Remembrance

The Great War remembered

“This book is not a history of World War I, nor is it a history of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front. Rather, it is a collection of essays that examines how the wartime generation and those that followed have remembered or commemorated individuals, groups, and military organizations that comprised the AEF.”<br /> —from the Preface

When the United States declared war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. After the war, Pershing became the head of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the new government agency that commemorated the AEF’s exploits.

The essays comprising Unknown Soldiers are divided into three sections: “Remembering the AEF,” “Soldiers and Their Units in Battle and Beyond,” and “The AEF in Popular Memory.” The first section provides an overview of how Americans and the government have remembered, commemorated, and interpreted the history of the AEF, its battles, and its soldiers. The four essays in the second section shed light on how the doughboys fought, how they interacted with Allied soldiers, how the war shaped their postwar careers and memories, and how heroic feats became the stuff of myth and legend. The last section explores how the AEF has been remembered through popular literature, film, and music.

This collection draws on primary sources from previously unheard voices, including memoirs, autobiographies, official records, and oral histories, to present the coherent story of the AEF’s experience and the memories they evoked. Unknown Soldiers will be a welcome addition to World War I literature and a solid addition to the fields of military history and the history of memory.

Unsafe for Democracy Cover

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Unsafe for Democracy

World War I and the U.S. Justice Department's Covert Campaign to Suppress Dissent

William H. Thomas Jr.

During World War I it was the task of the U.S. Department of Justice, using the newly passed Espionage Act and its later Sedition Act amendment, to prosecute and convict those who opposed America’s entry into the conflict. In Unsafe for Democracy, historian William H. Thomas Jr. shows that the Justice Department did not stop at this official charge but went much further—paying cautionary visits to suspected dissenters, pressuring them to express support of the war effort, or intimidating them into silence. At times going undercover, investigators tried to elicit the unguarded comments of individuals believed to be a threat to the prevailing social order.
    In this massive yet largely secret campaign, agents cast their net wide, targeting isolationists, pacifists, immigrants, socialists, labor organizers, African Americans, and clergymen. The unemployed, the mentally ill, college students, schoolteachers, even schoolchildren, all might come under scrutiny, often in the context of the most trivial and benign activities of daily life.
    Delving into numerous reports by Justice Department detectives, Thomas documents how, in case after case, they used threats and warnings to frighten war critics and silence dissent. This early government crusade for wartime ideological conformity, Thomas argues, marks one of the more dubious achievements of the Progressive Era—and a development that resonates in the present day.

Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians

“Recommended for all libraries.”—Frederic Krome, Library Journal

“A cautionary tale about what can happen to our freedoms if we take them too lightly.”—Dave Wood, Hudson Star-Observer

War Bird Ace Cover

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War Bird Ace

The Great War Exploits of Capt. Field E. Kindley

By Jack Stokes Ballard

Capt. Field E. Kindley, with the famous Eddie Rickenbacker, was one of America’s foremost World War I flying aces. Like Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story is one of fierce dogfights, daring aerial feats, and numerous brushes with death. Yet unlike Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story has not been fully told until now. Field Kindley gained experience with the RAF before providing leadership for the U.S. Air Service. Kindley was the fourth-ranking American air ace; his exploits earned him a Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster from the United States and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the British government. In February 1920, during a practice drill Kindley led, some enlisted men unwittingly entered the bombing target area. “Buzzing” the troops to warn them off the field, Kindley somehow lost control of his plane and died in the ensuing crash. Using arduously gathered primary materials and accounts of Great War aces, Jack Ballard tells the story of this little-known hero from the glory days of aerial warfare. Through this tale, an era and a daring flyer live again.

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The World War I Diary of José de la Luz Sáenz

Emilio Zamora

“I am home, safe and sound, and reviewing all these memories as if in a dream. All of this pleases me. I have been faithful to my duty.” Thus José de la Luz Sáenz ends his account of his military service in France and Germany in 1918. Published in Spanish in 1933, his annotated book of diary entries and letters recounts not only his own war experiences but also those of his fellow Mexican Americans.
A skilled and dedicated teacher in South Texas before and after the war, Sáenz’s patriotism, his keen observation of the discrimination he and his friends faced both at home and in the field, and his unwavering dedication to the cause of equality have for years made this book a valuable resource for scholars, though only ten copies are known to exist and it has never before been available in English. Equally clear in these pages are the astute reflections and fierce pride that spurred Sáenz and others to pursue the postwar organization of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
This English edition of one of only two known war diaries of a Mexican American in the Great War is translated with an introduction and annotation by noted Mexican American historian Emilio Zamora.

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The World War I Memoirs of Robert P. Patterson

A Captain in the Great War

Edited by J. Garry Clifford

A journalist once called Under Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson “the toughest man in Washington” for his fervid efforts in managing U.S. mobilization in World War II. The World War I Memoirs of Robert P. Patterson: A Captain in the Great War recounts Patterson’s own formative military experiences in the First World War. Written in the years following the conflict, this is a remarkable rendering of what it was like to be an infantry line officer during the so-called Great War. Patterson started his military career as a twenty-seven-year-old, barely-trained captain in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.). He was part of the 306th Infantry Regiment of New York’s famous 77th “Statue of Liberty” Division from July to November 1918. In this detailed account, Patterson describes in understated yet vivid prose just how raw and unprepared American soldiers were for the titanic battles on the Western Front. Patterson downplays his near-death experience in a fierce firefight that earned him and several of his men from Company F the Distinguished Service Cross. His depiction of the brutal Meuse-Argonne battle is haunting—the drenching cold rains, the omnipresent barbed wire, deep fog-filled ravines, the sweet stench of mustard gas, chattering German machine-guns, crashing artillery shells, and even a rare hot meal to be savored. Dealing with more than just combat, Patterson writes of the friendships and camaraderie among the officers and soldiers of different ethnic and class backgrounds who made up the “melting pot division” of the 77th. He betrays little of the postwar disillusionment that afflicted some members of the “Lost Generation.” Editor J. Garry Clifford’s introduction places Patterson and his actions in historical context and illuminates how Patterson applied lessons learned from the Great War to his later service as assistant secretary, under secretary, and secretary of war from 1940 to 1947.

Yankee Division in the First World War Cover

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Yankee Division in the First World War

In the Highest Tradition

By Michael E. Shay

Historians have been unkind to the 26th Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite playing a significant role in all the major engagements of the American Expeditionary Force, the “Yankee Division,” as it was commonly known, and its beloved commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Clarence Edwards, were often at odds with Gen. John J. Pershing. Subsequently, the Yankee Division became the A.E.F.’s “whipping boy,” a reputation that has largely continued to the present day. In The Yankee Division in the First World War, author Michael E. Shay mines a voluminous body of first-person accounts to set forth an accurate record of the Yankee Division in France—a record that is, as he reports, “better than most.” Shay sheds new light on the ongoing conflict in leadership and notes that two of the division’s regiments received the coveted Croix de Guerre, the first ever awarded to an American unit. This first-rate study should find a welcome place on military history bookshelves, both for scholars and students of the Great War and for interested general readers.

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Years of Plenty, Years of Want

France and the Legacy of the Great War

The Great War that engulfed Europe between 1914 and 1918 was a catastrophe for France. French soil was the site of most of the fighting on the Western Front. French dead were more than 1.3 million, the permanently disabled another 1.1 million, overwhelmingly men in their twenties and thirties. The decade and a half before the war had been years of plenty, a time of increasing prosperity and confidence remembered as the Belle Epoque or the good old days. The two decades that followed its end were years of want, loss, misery, and fear. In 1914, France went to war convinced of victory. In 1939, France went to war dreading defeat.

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