Unknown Soldiers: The American Expeditionary Forces in Memory and Remembrance (Hardcover)
The Great War remembered
"This book is not a history of World War I, nor is it a history of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front. Rather, it is a collection of essays that examines how the wartime generation and those that followed have remembered or commemorated individuals, groups, and military organizations that comprised the AEF."
--from the Preface
When the United States declared war in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under the command of General John Pershing to the Western Front. After the war, Pershing became the head of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the new government agency that commemorated the AEF's exploits.
The essays comprising Unknown Soldiers are divided into three sections: "Remembering the AEF," "Soldiers and Their Units in Battle and Beyond," and "The AEF in Popular Memory." The first section provides an overview of how Americans and the government have remembered, commemorated, and interpreted the history of the AEF, its battles, and its soldiers. The four essays in the second section shed light on how the doughboys fought, how they interacted with Allied soldiers, how the war shaped their postwar careers and memories, and how heroic feats became the stuff of myth and legend. The last section explores how the AEF has been remembered through popular literature, film, and music.
This collection draws on primary sources from previously unheard voices, including memoirs, autobiographies, official records, and oral histories, to present the coherent story of the AEF's experience and the memories they evoked. Unknown Soldiers will be a welcome addition to World War I literature and a solid addition to the fields of military history and the history of memory.
About the Author
Mark A. Snell retired from the United States Army in 1993. Among his wide variety of assignments during more than twenty years of service, he taught American history from 1987-1990 in the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy. Snell is the founding director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University and was professor of history at Shepherd University for twenty years until his second retirement in 2013. In 2008, he was the Senior Visiting Lecturer of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Snell is the author or editor of numerous books and essays on the Civil War and American military history, including Unknown Soldiers: The American Expeditionary Forces in Memory and Remembrance (The Kent State University Press, 2008) and a book forthcoming from the Kent State University Press about Gettysburg during the First World War and the two Army camps whose soldiers lived and trained on the old battlefield. In 2009, West Virginia governor Joe Manchin presented Snell with the Honorary West Virginian award, the highest accolade that can be bestowed on a nonresident of the state.