by Gregory W. Ball
Denton, Tx.: University of North Texas Press, 2013. Pp. xvi, 240.
Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 157441500X
North Texas National Guardsmen in the Great War
They Called Them Soldier Boys
is an account of the 7th Texas Infantry in the Great War. A National Guard unit recruited from the northern and western areas of the state, the regiment was combined with the 1st Oklahoma to form the 142nd Infantry, a unit of the 36th Division.
Ball, a USAF historian, looks at the regiment from its recruitment, through organization and training, movement to France, time at the front, return home, and its legacy. Perhaps the best parts of the book are his profile of the troops and his two excellent chapters on the regiment’s tour at the front, some 24 often harrowing days in the Meuse-Argonne, which as some excellent battle pieces.
Ball occasionally suffers from excessive Texasism, and while he makes useful comparisons of recruits from areas that comprised the 7th Texas and those from other parts of the state, he tends to neglect the Oklahomans in the regiment, some Choctaw among them who arguably became America’s first ‘Indian code talkers’.
Nevertheless, They Called them Soldier Boys, a volume in the UNT series “War and the Southwest,” will prove useful and informative to even the most seasoned student of the AEF as well as for anyone interested in the experience of men under fire.