The Last of the Doughboys

The Last of the Doughboys

The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

eBook - 2013
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For the past decade, Richard Rubin sought every last living American veteran of World War I—and uncovered a forgotten great generation, and their war.
“Before the Greatest Generation, there was the Forgotten Generation of World War I . . . wonderfully engaging” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
“Richard Rubin has done something that will never be possible for anyone to do again. His interviews with the last American World War I veterans—who have all since died—bring to vivid life a cataclysm that changed our world forever but that remains curiously forgotten here.” —Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918
In 2003, eighty-five years after the end of World War I, Richard Rubin set out to see if he could still find and talk to someone who had actually served in the American Expeditionary Forces during that colossal conflict. Ultimately he found dozens, aged 101 to 113, from Cape Cod to Carson City, who shared with him at the last possible moment their stories of America’s Great War.
Nineteenth-century men and women living in the twenty-first century, they were self-reliant, humble, and stoic, never complaining, but still marveling at the immensity of the war they helped win, and the complexity of the world they helped create. Though America has largely forgotten their war, you will never forget them, or their stories. A decade in the making, The Last of the Doughboys is the most sweeping look at America’s First World War in a generation, a glorious reminder of the tremendously important role America played in the “war to end all wars,” as well as a moving meditation on character, grace, aging, and memory.
“An outstanding and fascinating book. By tracking down the last surviving veterans of the First World War and interviewing them with sympathy and skill, Richard Rubin has produced a first-rate work of reporting.” —Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia
“I cannot remember a book about that huge and terrible war that I have enjoyed reading more in many years.” —Michael Korda, The Daily Beast

Baker & Taylor
Collected over ten years, presents interviews with the last remaining World War I veterans, aged 101 to 113, to paint a picture of a time and a generation that, despite memorials and history lessons, is quickly fading away.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
ISBN: 9780547843698
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Nov 13, 2017

I loved this book. It was written in a folksy manner, as though you were having dinner with the author while he told you about his project to interview any remaining WWI veterans he could find. The reader did a great job of finding the right tone to read with & I was happy with the accents he used when he speaks the words of the veterans. Accents were subtle & natural. As well as relating what was learned in the interviews, there is a tremendous amount of info about The Great War included. It helps understand their stories & generally sets the scene for what was going on in the U. S. While the rest of the world seemed bent on self destruction. I can’t imagine how much time & effort went into researching this book! Not to mention the effort to find these veterans, determine whether they were still living & whether or not they were still lucid when he found them. It would have been interesting to have included vets from around the world as well, but he didn’t begin this project until 2003. That’s 85 years after the war ended. These survivors all had to be over 100 years old. There just wasn’t enough time to search in other countries. I didn’t figure out what method was used to determine the order of the stories. It seemed somewhat chronological, but also skipped around a lot. I’m very familiar with WWI, so that didn’t bother me. But, I would recommend beginning with the excellent Hourly History for WWI if you aren’t already a WWI buff.

Mar 17, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio despite Gardner not being my favorite narrator. The author jumps around a bit, throws in some info/comments I simply skipped over. Sometimes it was tedious & naturally he concentrated on lives of US men.

Highly recommend for history interests & especially enlightening about The Great War that few Americans even know or care about. I had this in perfect conjunction with The Great Influenza.

Every small berg, village or city in Britain has many memorials dedicated to this tragic 4 year war & people still lay wreaths each year. Little wonder, as they lost a generation of men, the economy was devastated for decades. What's further amazing is that in France the land still gives up bodies & artifacts, which it will do for another century plus.

May 25, 2014

If you have any interest in history, both World and US, you should read this book. This is the 100th year anniversary of WWI. There are no more survivors of this war. Fascinating read; I'm glad Richard Rubin did this work.

I'm adding to this review after reading it awhile ago. In the late 50s I lived in rural France in the Meuse Argonne Forest area. I would spend days hiking in the old trenches, where I would find old rusted metal parts of weapons, helmets too numerous to bother with and bayonets from all sides. It always disturbed me that LOTS of human died in this area, and that the sacrifice would be pretty much in vain, as they had another war in twenty years. Fortunately, all human remains had passed away or were buried. This area was where the US troops were blooded. Sometimes you could almost hear the screams. Eerie experience for an 11 year old kid.


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