Over There: The United States in the Great War, 1917-18

Byron Farwell, Author
Byron Farwell, Author W. W. Norton & Company $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-393-04698-4
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-393-32028-2
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Although breaking no new ground in research or interpretation, Farwell (Armies of the Raj, etc.) does a workmanlike job of narrating the WWI battles in which U.S. soldiers fought, thus providing a good summary of the relatively brief history of U.S. forces in the Great War. The very worst land battles of the war were fought by the French, British and Russians during the years of American neutrality (1914 through early 1917). In 1916, the French absorbed one million casualties at Verdun. In the same year, the British lost 66,000 men in just the first day of fighting at Passchendaele, Belgium; a million Russian soldiers died during Brusilov's breakthrough on the Eastern Front. In comparison, the total American casualties by the end of war in November 1918 were just 52,947 killed and 202,628 wounded--in key fights such as the second battle of the Marne, the turning back of Ludendorff's troops at Soissons and the liberation of the hotly contested Saint-Milhiel salient. Pershing's doughboys also opened the Saint-Quentin Canal complex of the main Hindenburg Line, captured the bastion of Blanc Mont near Rheims and-- most importantly--dove into the hell of the Meuse-Argonne front to forestall German retreat to the Rhine. Farwell's accounts of these engagements are accurate and well written. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
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