The Polar Bear Expedition: The Heroes of America’s Forgotten Invasion of Russia

James Carl Nelson. Morrow, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-285277-9
Nelson (The Remains of Company D) narrates a largely forgotten chapter of WWI, when 5,000 American doughboys of the 339th Infantry Regiment were dispatched to northern Russia in 1918. The expedition’s mission was to support opponents of the Russian Revolution and recreate the eastern front against Germany, which had vanished after the Bolshevik government pulled out of the war. But the result was a weak American invasion some 1,000 miles north of Moscow that inexplicably extended past the armistice and “sowed the seeds for recriminations and distrust that would plague U.S.-Russian relations throughout the 20th century—and beyond.” Using books, articles, and newspaper accounts—and a crisp character-driven approach—Nelson narrates the expedition’s sung and unsung heroes (like Thomas Downs, who cheerfully marched through a seven-mile retreat after losing an eye to a gunshot), horrors, and other events, such as a minor but exaggeratedly reported mutiny that left one company’s reputation forever tarnished. Nelson’s engrossing narrative will engage military historians, political buffs, and general readers alike. Agent: James Carl Nelson, Hornfischer Literary Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2018
Release date: 02/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-285279-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-289698-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-0946-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-9826-0947-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-9826-0945-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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