America and World War I
A Traveler's Guide
Mark D. Van Ells
Published 2015 • 5" x 9" • 432 pages • b&w photos
ISBN 9781566569750 • paperback • $22.00 •
"On the 100th anniversary of World War I, Van Ells (history, City Univ. of New York; To Hear Only Thunder Again: America's World War II Veterans Come Home) contributes a different perspective. This title is part travel guide but more a comprehensive history book; the author is interested in all the historical sites allied with the conflict, starting from before the war to the aftermath in 1918. Little-known places of interest both in the United States and in Europe are listed, such as the World War I monument in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and Quentin Roosevelt's (son of President Theodore Roosevelt) memorial fountain in Chamery, France. Instead of directions, Van Ells incorporates GPS coordinates for readers to use to find each memorial, airfield, training camp or other historical site. Pictures are included, although they are small. Besides the extensive research in this book, which is presented in a straightforward and clear manner, the author includes several appendixes that list historical societies, museums, books, and all cemeteries maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. VERDICT Recommended for academic readers as well as history buffs..."
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FOLLOWING THE DOUGHBOY FROM THE HOME FRONT TO THE WESTERN FRONT—AND MAPPING THE MANY MEMORIALS BUILT IN HIS HONOR
It has now been a century since World War I began, but America’s role in this colossal struggle has been largely forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic. Historian and travel writer Mark D. Van Ells aims to change that. America and World War I follows in the footsteps of the Doughboy—as the U.S. soldier of the Great War was known—from the training camps of the United States to the frontlines of Europe. Tracing the totality of America’s experience from the factors that led the nation to enter the war in April 1917 to the armistice in November 1918, his riveting narrative describes a military buildup on a scale the world had never seen, as well as the war’s major battles and campaigns¾and, throughout, it leads the traveler to the memorials erected in the Doughboys’ wake, as well as to the many places that remain unmarked and uncommemorated.
Through their own words, we learn the feelings of those young men and women who served in the war. What were their private thoughts and fears? Their personal memories? Such eyewitness accounts, woven into the fabric of each chapter, give this absorbingly written book an immediacy and vividness that marks a new departure in guidebooks.
Complete with photographs, the voices of the doughboys themselves, and up-to-date travel information, America and World War I is an indispensible guide for those who wish to explore this vital but neglected chapter in the American and European experience.
• Major battles and battlefields
• Memorials, museums, sites, cemeteries, and statues
• How to get there
• What to see
• Eyewitness accounts
• Then and now photographs
Mark D. Van Ells is Professor of History at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. He is the author of Wisconsin (On the Road History), also published by Interlink. His website is markdvanells.com.
"A sophisticated history text integrates the practical details of a guide in this informative and illustrative look at World War I. Mark D. Van Ells presents his meticulously researched view of the Great War in 'America and WWI: A Traveler’s Guide.' Part instruction and part tourism—a complementary combination—this vivid and often graphic book ensnares the queasy traveler then provides a productive trip through its pages...Straightforward in his approach yet with writing that frequently eliciting an emotional response, Van Ells delivers a powerful evaluation of the American doughboys and the war that few want to talk about any more."
“As we reach the centennial of what Europe calls the Great War, World War I, we all need to gain insight into that war. It was the war that set up all the other wars of the twentieth century. Mark D. Van Ells’s book is a must-read experience. It is invaluable in learning the unmistakable lessons of history.”
—U.S. Senator Max Cleland (Ret.)
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