Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Experiences in the World War - Winner, Non-Fiction, 1932

My Experiences in the World War
By: General John J. Pershing
Frederick A. Stokes, 1931

As far as war histories go, and those of you who are regular readers of my blog probably know I really dislike war histories, this one, I must admit, was bearable. General John J. Pershing led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I and earned the highest rank ever awarded by the army during the life of the individual - General of the Armies. Pershing kept a detailed diary of his days as commander of the American forces in World War I, and he structures this book around that diary. Each section of the book begins with an excerpt from his diary, followed by elaboration on the events mentioned in that excerpt.

This book provided great first-hand detail of a war that the United States joined belatedly and was sorely unprepared for. Pershing points out many issues that the American military faced - including lack of training and supplies and power struggles between Allied leaders over who would control American troops in Europe. Something that did excite me while reading was Pershing's interaction with two Americans in Europe that I have already read Pulitzer-prize winning books on - Admiral William Sowden Sims (The Victory at Sea, winner in 1921) and Ambassador Walter H. Page (The Life & Letters of Walter H. Page, winner in 1923 & The Training of an American: The Early Life & Letters of Walter H. Page, winner in 1929). It was very interesting to see what I learned previously from another perspective.

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