Edith Wharton and Mary Roberts Rinehart at the Western Front, 1915
Ed Klekowski and Libby Klekowski
By 1915, the Western Front was a 450–mile line of trenches, barbed wire and concrete bunkers, stretching across Europe. Attempts to break the stalemate were murderous and futile. Censorship of the press was extreme—no one wanted the carnage reported.
Remakably, the Allied command gave two intrepid American women, Edith Wharton and Mary Roberts Rinehart, permission to visit the front and report on what they saw. Their travels are reconstructed from their own published accounts, Rinehart’s unpublished day-by-day notes, and the writings of other journalists who toured the front in 1915. The present authors’ explorations of the places Wharton and Rinehart visited serves as a travel guide to the Western Front.