Books & Movies: American Armies and Battlefields in Europe (1938)

    Why write a review for a book written in 1938?  Because the book remains the bible (small “b”) for battlefield visitors!  The Webmaster gets numerous emails from information seekers, and his responses ALWAYS recommend this book as a good starting point for pilgrims.  Likewise, hundreds of people have joined the Meuse-Argonne Facebook group over the last several months looking for more information on their ancestor’s experience in WW1.  Again, this provides a great start. American Armies and Battlefields in Europe was first published Continue reading →

Books & Movies: Over There with Private Graham–The Compelling World War I Journal of an American Doughboy

    “Over There with Private Graham” is a “compelling” AEF war diary–especially with regards to the 28th Division.  The finding and publishing of the diary is a story worth telling too.   Private William J. Graham of Philadelphia was a cop before the war with a wife and seven children.  At the advanced age of thirty-eight he joined the A.E.F. as a military policeman in Company B, 103rd Military Police Battalion, 28th Division.  To quote from the preface:  “Private / Bugler William J. Graham Continue reading →

Books and Movies: A Journey to the Western Front: 100 Years after the Cataclysm, by Doug Gangler

  In less than two hundred pages, author Doug Gangler takes readers on a tour along the 700 kilometer (420 mile) long Western Front of World War 1; covering important and moving sites from WW1.  The book is organized into ten geographic chapters; starting with Brussels and ending with Mulhouse (aka the Vosges.)  He includes Paris, too.  Each region is given plus or minus twenty pages.  In the reviewer’s opinion, the book’s greatest strength is the author’s ability to condense four years of conflict in Continue reading →

New Product Introduction: U.S. Army Tracings of German Situation Maps–German 5th Army and Army Detachment C

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Army War College had representatives at the German Reichsarchiv in Potsdam who were making exact copies of Imperial German military documents so they could be studied and analyzed by the U.S. military.  One subset of documents is the tracings of daily situation maps (singular, Lagenkarte) created by the individual German Armies.  These situation maps are an important resource for examining the German side of the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives.     Created at the individual Army-level, the original Continue reading →

Books and Movies: Back Over There… by Richard Rubin

  “Back Over There” is a fun-to-read travelogue; and it marks Richard Rubin’s second grand effort to educate an American public that is largely ignorant of or apathetic to the United States’ role in World War I.  In this book the author explores the American battlefields of Northeastern France; meeting a wide variety of Frenchmen, and other Europeans living in France, who show him the physical remains of the American WW1 battlefields in their backyard.  He intertwines these encounters and cultural vignettes with snippets of Continue reading →

Books and Movies: US Army WW1 Campaign Commemorative Brochures Available for Download

  A recent post in Michael Hanlon’s “Roads to the Great War” blog reminded the Webmaster that the Center of Military History of the United States Army is currently publishing “The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War I Commemorative Brochures.”  These brochures can be downloaded for free at the following site: At present four brochures have been published: “The Mexican Expedition, 1916-1917” by Julie Irene Prieto; “The U.S. Army in the World War I Era;” “Joining the Great War, April 1917 – April 1918” Continue reading →

Books and Movies: Finding the Lost Battalion, U.S. WW1 Centennial Edition

  When publishing the feature article, “The Lonesome Death of Marvin Stainton” on this website, the Webmaster opened with these lines:  “Few authors have researched participants of the Great War so well and have written so eloquently about their experiences as [author] Mr. Nelson.  The Webmaster wishes that the lives of each individual soldier on both sides of this terrible conflict could be so well documented.”  Robert J. Laplander and his book, “Finding the Lost Battalion:  Beyond the rumors, myths and legends of America’s famous Continue reading →

Books and Movies: The New York Public Library and the New York Times (Research Resources)

  Living near and working in a large city has its positive side when researching the past.  Several times over the last twelve months the webmaster has used the materials of the New York Public Library (NYPL) or the New York Times (NYT) for research.   For example, the NYPL’s collection of regimental histories is among the largest in the world; including histories of five of the ten WW1 German Kürassier (Heavy Cavalry) Regimentals.  The drawbacks are:  1) One has to order them in advance; and 2) Continue reading →

Books and Movies: America and WW1: A Traveler’s Guide by Mark D. Van Ells

  In this work author Mark D. Van Ells accomplishes two sizeable feats: 1) First, he is able to synthesize reams of dates, facts and figures into an authoritative, readable travel guide that outlines U.S. involvement in the Great War.  Second, he covers areas that heretofore have largely been neglected, or at least not readily summarized.  Both of these accomplishments make this a book worth having in one’s collection—and having it handy whenever one travels—in the United States and in Europe.   The book is Continue reading →

People of the Meuse-Argonne: Mark D. Van Ells

Even today French locals, other Europeans and Americans find themselves drawn to the Meuse-Argonne region of France.  Once drawn there, many return time and again; often working on multi-year research or preservation projects.  In this irregular interview series, the webmaster hopes to introduce readers to some of these individuals and their labors of love.       1)  What is your name, nationality and occupation? Mark D. Van Ells, American, Professor of History at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York, and Continue reading →