by Jennifer D. Keene
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press/Bison Books, 2011. Pp. xvii, 217.
Illus., map., chron., gloss, notes, biblio., index. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 0803234872
In World War I: The American Soldier Experience Prof. Keene (Chapman University) gives us what is essentially an introductory look at the American fighting man during the Great War.
And a very good introduction it is, indeed. Previously the author of Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America and an editor of Finding Common Ground: New Directions in First World War Studies, Keene devotes just one of her seven chapters to the actual experience of combat, giving the subject an adequate overview. Of the other chapters, one takes an overview of the role of the U.S. in the war. Then follow chapters on the drafting and training the army, morals and morale, minorities in the ranks (covering women, African-Americans, and immigrants), health and medical services, and the experience of the veteran returning home afterwards. Keene has a good grasp of the newest scholarship on the readiness and ability of the U.S. Army and its leaders, writes well, and has a good ear for what might be termed “informative trivia”, the little factoid or anecdote that conveys a useful message.
Although of particular value to someone not very familiar with the subject, this volume can also be read with profit by even the most seasoned student of the war.