Fighting Soldier: The Aef in 1918

Joseph Douglas Lawrence, Author Colorado Associated University Press $18 (165p) ISBN 978-0-87081-158-6
Lawrence wrote a memoir of his WW I experience for his children, later donating it to the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Pennsylvania where it was discovered by Ferrell, an Indiana University historian. He edited the manuscript (with the 91-year-old author's assistance) and added scene-setting introductions to the chapters. Lawrence, a National Guard sergeant in the summer of 1918 at the Ypres Salient, was sent to officers' school and commissioned. Assigned to the 29th Division, he took part in the Meuse-Argonne campaign, the largest American engagement of the war, commanding five infantry platoons and winning the Croix de Guerre for valor. Lawrence's writing is spare, understated and almost entirely emotionless. He has a strong visual sense and his descriptions of assaults on fortified positions and of hand-to-hand fighting are memorable. An unusual aspect in the narrative is the frequency with which he mentions the phenomenon of desertion under fire. At the same time, he makes perfectly clear that raw courage was necessary to force oneself ""over the top'' in the face of massed machine-gun fire. February 1
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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