Academic journal article Military Review

Dispatches from the Front: News Accounts of American Wars, 1776-1991

Academic journal article Military Review

Dispatches from the Front: News Accounts of American Wars, 1776-1991

Article excerpt

DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONT: News Accounts of American Wars, 1776-1991 by Nathaniel Lande. 416 pages. Henry Holt & Co. Inc., New York. 1995. $35.(XI.

Dispatches fiom the Fro)tt, a reference book by a former director of Tine World Net's Serice, is a fascinating anthology of stories by war correspondents who were at the front in 10 American wars. Nathaniel Lande also served as director of the Time/Life Magazine Group. In this book, Lande draws on his experience as a joumalism professor to select examples of exceptional writing he says represent clear thought, accurate interpretation, dramatic incident, varied style and reflective passage." The selections include stories on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and lI, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War. The author's index and bibliography are thorough.

In an introductory chapter, Lande argues that US interpretations of war have been largely shaped by war correspondents-many of whom were or became heroes in journalism and literature. Some of those writers are represented in this anthology, including famous pamphleteer Thomas Paine, who tried to improve morale during the Revolutionary War with his "The American Crisis, No. 1," published in the Pennsylvania Gazette on 19 December 1776. Paine's lead sentence is the oftenquoted "These are the times that try men's souls."

The anthology gives samples of author Stephen Crane's New York Ibrld dispatches during the Spanish-American War. Although Crane was already famous for his war books, including the 1895 The Red Badge of Courage, he did not actually see combat until he went to Cuba with the Rough Riders.

Anthology readers also will find Ernest Hemingway's 1918 feature story, for the Kansas Cih Star, "Mix War, Art and Dancing," about the first dance the War Camp Community Service gave for soldiers at Fort Leavenworth and Camp Funston.

Famous World War II war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle's "The Death of Captain Waskow" is included. The story is a tribute to a company commander killed in 1944 on the front lines in Italy. It recounts the woeful comments of the commander's soldiers when they realize that one of the bodies brought back by Italian mule skinners is their beloved "old man"-the 20-something Henry T. …

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