Pennsylvanian Voices of the Great War

Letters, Stories and Oral Histories of World War I


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About the Book

“I guess you all are wondering where I am May. Well many miles away and settled at last and ready for some hard work. The sooner we get into it the quicker it is going to be over and all admit that it is up to America to finish the job and what I have been able to hear, they think it will be over in two or three months. Well the sooner the better now that we have come this far. Have sure traveled some and will have loads to tell you when I come home.”—Lt. W. Ellsworth Gregory.

Letters from soldiers to local newspapers during wartime had been popular since the Civil War, but World War I marked the end of this practice, as most letters were highly censored to keep the names of cities and landmarks from the public in an effort to keep any military intelligence from the enemy in World War I. This work is a collection of letters, stories, and oral histories of Pennsylvanians in World War I. The letters and stories compiled here were published in local newspapers, and now give readers a rare look at what their writers experienced in the trenches, in the air, on the sea, in the hospitals, and on the home front during the war.

About the Author(s)

J. Stuart Richards is an electronics technician for the United States government’s, Department of Defense. He lives in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by J. Stuart Richards

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2002
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1358-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

1917: Lafayette, Nous Voici     9
The Early Months of 1918     16
The German Spring Offensive Begins     25
June 1918: The Defense of the Line     36
July 1918: The Allied Offensive     64
August 1918: The Allies Gain the Initiative      105
September 1918: “On to Cambrai” Is the Cry     152
October 1918: Unconditional Surrender Demanded     168
November 1918: The Armistice, the 11th Hour, the 11th Day, the 11th Month    175

Appendix: American Combat Divisions, World War I     227
Bibliography     239
Index     241

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “an extraordinary poignant work…a touching tribute”—Catholic Library World
  • “fascinating letters from soldiers to their families back home…a must-read…Richards’ observations and analyses provide additional insight and place events into broader context”—Times News