Academic journal article Military Review

The Doughboys: America and the First World War

Academic journal article Military Review

The Doughboys: America and the First World War

Article excerpt

THE DOUGHBOYS: America and the First World War, Gary Mead, Overlook Press, New York, 2000, 478 pages, $37.95.

The Doughboys: America and the First World War, Gary Mead's attempt to "redress the balance of history by reinstating the vital importance of the American contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers in November 1918" is an absolute success.

Mead, an English journalist, wanted to prove that the U.S. entry into World War I and the fielding of a U.S. Army in France was essential to the culminating victory of 1918 and, in many ways, set the stage for America's ongoing engagement as "Europe's policeman." Mead's target audience is in part the covey of French and English academics who dismiss U.S. participation in the Great War as too little and almost too late. Yet, he is far more interested in telling the military history of America's part in the war than in engaging in a drawn-out historiographical debate.

In 20 tightly written, engaging chapters, Mead recounts America's entry into war and the chronology of building, fielding, and fighting in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in France. Perhaps because of his training as a journalist, Mead skillfully weaves the personal narratives of individual soldiers and generals into the big picture, producing a compelling, broadly focused narrative. …

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