A Rainbow Division Lieutenant in France

The World War I Diary of John H. Taber


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About the Book

Lieutenant John Huddleston Taber was a New Yorker assigned to the 168th “Third Iowa” Infantry Regiment of the American Expeditionary Force’s 42nd “Rainbow” Division during World War I. His diary provides a detailed narrative of a young officer maturing through his war experiences, from the voyage across the submarine filled Atlantic, to training in France, to front line combat. In a clear, unaffected voice, Taber records his dealings with superiors and enlisted men, billets in French and German towns, life in the trenches, intense shelling, machine gun fire, gas warfare, leaves to Paris, the occupation of Germany, and his return to New York.

About the Author(s)

John H. Taber graduated from Columbia University in 1917 and was attached as a second lieutenant to the 168th Infantry (Iowa) of the Rainbow Division in World War I. He published a history of the 168th in 1925. He passed away in New York City in 1986.

Stephen H. Taber, the second cousin of John H. Taber, is a financial specialist on Brazil. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

John H. Taber
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9990-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2234-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface (Stephen H. Taber)   1
1. Over There   3
2. France   10
3. The Front   27
4. On the Line   35
5. Gas   61
6. Rest   74
7. Back Up   80
8. Away   99
9. Saint Mihiel Salient    111
10. On the Road   120
11. Paris   125
12. Back with the Company   129
13. The End   136
14. Germany   146
15. En Route to Paris   165
16. Back to the Rhine   172
17. Leaving Germany   187
18. On the Way Home   190
Chapter Notes   197
Index   199

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “an interesting firsthand account…provides valuable insights into the mindset and day-to-day activities of an officer in the French trenches during World War I”—The Annals of Iowa
  • A Rainbow Division Lieutenant in France: The World War l Diary of John H. Taber is an extremely focused and balanced account of an officer with the 42nd Division in France and Germany. It is perhaps the first time publication of a WW1 diary in decades and provides a clear account of the war at the individual level by an officer who spoke French and some German, and also describes the era, billets, and Paris. It may provide a valuable reference to the Commission in providing a down to earth, individual account of the war and the times.”—The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission