The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

Richard Rubin, Author
Richard Rubin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (528p) ISBN 978-0-547-55443-3
Reviewed on: 02/11/2013
Release date: 05/28/2013
Open Ebook - 528 pages - 978-0-547-84369-8
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4829-2362-9
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To write this affecting book, Rubin (Confederacy of Silence) traveled the country to interview the last American survivors of WWI. At the time (10 years ago), all were over 100 years old, and one was 113. Even with their understandably imprecise memories, they could recall the realities of their long-ago service, much of it in battle. While their recollections add little to our overall understanding of that distant “War to End All Wars” and the United States’ contributions to it, they give fresh texture to what’s already known. Rubin is skillful in his interviewing, remorseless in his efforts to chase down his subjects, thoughtful of their age. He also wisely fills in their stories with biographical facts and establishes the contexts of the specific battles they fought in and what was at stake. In tying his forgotten men—as the parents of WWII combatants—to the vogue of the “Greatest Generation,” Rubin stretches things a bit too far. They stand, as they stood, on their own record. Nevertheless, he has brought them back to life. His book is a fitting epitaph to brave men too often overlooked. Agent: Kristine Dahl, ICM. (May 28)
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