Foreword Reviews

America and WWI

A Traveler's Guide

Rich descriptions of scenes from WWI and present-day areas of interest for historians and travelers make this somber guide intriguing.

A sophisticated history text integrates the practical details of a guide in this informative and illustrative look at World War I. Mark D. Van Ells presents his meticulously researched view of the Great War in America and WWI: A Traveler’s Guide. Part instruction and part tourism—a complementary combination—this vivid and often graphic book ensnares the queasy traveler then provides a productive trip through its pages.

Written by a professor, these eighteen chapters and four appendixes contain vital statistics and an orderly progression of events that establish an accurate time line of the war. Interspersed are anecdotes, trivia, and black-and-white photographs. Helpful in gaining an understanding of the battles and sieges that transpired, Van Ells offers factual data like a journalist but explains martial reasoning like a teacher.

Patriotism charges this work with an anticipated pro-American stance. In an attempt to be uplifting, which is commendable, Van Ells shines a spotlight on those who died in the line of duty. “Ultimate sacrifice” may be a trite phrase, but this tribute to the lives snuffed out in their prime brings new attention to a long-past war.

Disturbing descriptions of the horrors inflicted on these dedicated soldiers give the book a somber tone, especially since many were never recovered in sequestered areas of France. Tourists inclined to explore must exercise caution.

Mark D. Van Ells is a professor of history at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York. He earned a PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Straightforward in his approach yet with writing that frequently elicits an emotional response, Van Ells delivers a powerful evaluation of the American doughboys and the war that few want to talk about any more. Often perceived as a prelude to World War II, the Great War left behind countless broken hearts and living souls with bodies wounded beyond repair.

Reviewed by Julia Ann Charpentier

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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