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The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

In 2003, eighty-five years after the armistice, it took Richard Rubin months to find just one living American veteran of World War I. But then, he found another. And another. Eventually, he found dozens, aged 101 to 113, and interviewed them. All are gone now.

A decade-long odyssey to recover the story of a forgotten generation and their war led Rubin across the United States and France, through archives, private collections, battlefields, literature, propaganda, and even music. But at the center of it all were the last of the last, the men and women he met: a new immigrant, drafted and sent to France, whose life was saved by a horse; a Connecticut Yankee who volunteered and fought in every major American battle; a Cajun artilleryman nearly killed by a German airplane; an eighteen-year-old Bronx girl "drafted" to work for the War Department; a machine gunner from Montana; a marine wounded at Belleau Wood; the sixteen-year-old who became America’s last World War I veteran; and many more.

They were the final survivors of the millions who made up the American Expeditionary Forces, nineteenth-century men and women living in the twenty-first century. Self-reliant, humble, and stoic, they kept their stories to themselves for a lifetime, then shared them at the last possible moment so that they, and the war they won - the trauma that created our modern world - might at last be remembered. You will never forget them. The Last of the Doughboys is more than simply a war story; it is a moving meditation on character, grace, aging, and memory.

Prologue: No Man’s Land

Chapter 1. Wolves on the Battlefield

Chapter 2. Over the Top

Chapter 3. The American Sector

Chapter 4. Cheer and Laughter and Joyous Shout

Chapter 5. The People Behind the Battle

Chapter 6. The Forgotten Generation

Chapter 7. Give a Little Credit to the Navy

Chapter 8. A Vast Enterprise in Salesmanship

Chapter 9. Hell, We Just Got Here

Chapter 10. We Didn’t See a Thing

Chapter 11. Loyal, True, Straight and Square

Chapter 12. Old Dixieland in France

Chapter 13. L’Ossuaire

Chapter 14. A Wicked Gun, That Machine Gun

Chapter 15. Wasn't a Lot of Help

Chapter 16. The Last Night of the War

Chapter 17. The Last of the Last

Chapter 18. We Are All Missing You Very Much

Selected Bibliography

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