Doughboys on the Western Front

Memories of American Soldiers in the Great War

by Aaron Barlow, Editor


Correspondence and writing were central to the doughboys of World War I. Their writings provide key documentation of the Great War.

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Cover image for Doughboys on the Western Front

November 2016


Pages 276
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars
  Military History/Armed Forces

Covering the daily lives of American soldiers from their training through their arrival in France and participation in the final battles of the war, this book offers a breadth of perspectives on the experiences of doughboys in the First World War via primary documents of the time.

Due to the mechanical typewriter and the Linotype machine, printed materials during the World War I era were produced quickly and widely distributed. In a time without media other than those on paper, printed materials like newspapers, magazines, books, letters, and army orders were critical for communication. This book examines the range of documents written during World War I or within a few years of the end of the conflict to reveal the experiences of the doughboys who participated in "the war to end all wars."

Through documents such as military communications, newspaper accounts, personal letters, divisional histories written soon after the end of hostilities, and other sources, readers get detailed glimpses into the doughboy experience during World War I. The book covers subject matter throughout their time as soldiers, including training in the United States and in France, early participation in conflicts, daily life in the American Expeditionary Force, the major battles for American troops, and what returning home was like for those lucky ones. The assembled narrative of the war experience from many different voices and individuals creates a resource that enables a better understanding the attitudes and perspectives from 1918 through the very early 1920s. Readers will also gain an appreciation of the many changes in American culture that were to follow immediately after the war's conclusion and contribute to the decade of the Roaring Twenties.


  • Presents an engaging narrative and serves as a historical resource, making the book appealing to wide range of readers
  • Introduces contemporary audiences to perspectives of a century ago
  • Offers compelling stories about the American Expeditionary Forces experience from multiple points of view—from the soldiers themselves, their officers, and the soldier-journalists who covered the First World War
  • Supplies an invaluable resource for students and military scholars of one of the most decisive aspects of the First World War
Author Info

Aaron Barlow is associate professor of English at New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York. His most recent books are Greenwood's The Depression Era: A Historical Exploration of Literature and Praeger's The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth. He is also faculty editor of Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors.



"Barlow's collection is an excellent companion to other books on the writings emanating from WW I. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."Choice

"Useful as primary source material or to understand more fully the doughboy experience, on and off the battlefield. Consider where military history is popular."Library Journal

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