Book Review: In the Fields and the Trenches: The Famous and the Forgotten on the Battlefields of World War I


by Kerrie Logan Hollihan

Chicagp: Chicago Review Press, 2016. Pp. xxii, 186. Illus., map, chron., notes, biblio., index. $19.95. ISBN: 1613731302

An Excellent “First Book” on World War I

Hollihan, author of Reporting Under Fire, an excellent history of women war correspondents, as well as several other histories for younger readers such as Elizabeth I: The People's Queen and Theodore Roosevelt for Kids and, uses short profiles of nearly a score of people who saw some sort of service in the Great War to tell the reader something about the conflict.

While she favors English-speaking men, Hollihan does include some women, and there are some French and German people as well. Several of these people were already on the margins of fame, notably Theodore Roosevelt’s offspring, Irene Curie, daughter, and early cinema star Buster Keaton, while some later became famous, such as Harry Truman, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Ernest Hemingway. Most of the people covered, however, were quite ordinary, and now largely forgotten, such as the Canadian cowboy Fred Libby, who became a fighter pilot or America’s most notable “Colored Hero” of the war, Henry Johnson, who waited nearly a century for his well deserved Medal of Honor.

For each person Hollihan gives us a brief biographical sketch, filling their background, and then discussed their war time experiences in some detail, whether it was front line combat or air service or medical duties, and then there’s a short follow-up on the person’s life. Hollihan doesn’t pull punches, so we get the horrors of war, often overlooked in works for young readers.

This is an ideal introductory work about the war for a tweener or young teen, and even adults well read in the subject may find it of interest.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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