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An American Soldier in World War I

Overview

George "Brownie" Browne was a twenty-three-year-old civil engineer in Waterbury, Connecticut, when the United States entered the Great War in 1917. He enlisted almost immediately and served in the American Expeditionary Forces until his discharge in 1919. An American Soldier in World War I is an edited collection of more than one hundred letters that Browne wrote to his fiancée, Martha "Marty" Johnson, describing his experiences during World War I as part of the famed 42nd, or Rainbow, Division. From September ...
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American Soldier in World War I

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Overview

George "Brownie" Browne was a twenty-three-year-old civil engineer in Waterbury, Connecticut, when the United States entered the Great War in 1917. He enlisted almost immediately and served in the American Expeditionary Forces until his discharge in 1919. An American Soldier in World War I is an edited collection of more than one hundred letters that Browne wrote to his fiancée, Martha "Marty" Johnson, describing his experiences during World War I as part of the famed 42nd, or Rainbow, Division. From September 1917 until he was wounded in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in late October 1918, Browne served side by side with his comrades in the 117th Engineering Regiment. He participated in several defensive actions and in offensives on the Marne, at Saint-Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne.

This extraordinary collection of Brownie's letters reveals the day-to-day life of an American soldier in the European theater. The difficulties of training, transportation to France, dangers of combat, and the ultimate strain on George and Marty's relationship are all captured in these pages. David L. Snead weaves the Browne correspondence into a wider narrative about combat, hope, and service among the American troops. By providing a description of the experiences of an average American soldier serving in the American Expeditionary Forces in France, this study makes a valuable contribution to the history and historiography of American participation in World War I.

David L. Snead is an associate professor of history at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is the author of The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War.

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Editorial Reviews

On Point: The Journal of Army History
"Editor David Snead skillfully interweaves Browne's personal wartime account within the larger context of the war, his personal relationship with Martha Johnson, and his tribulations in joining and fighting in the United States Army. . . . An American Soldier in World War I is a perfect introduction to the American participation in World War I and utilizes many of the primary and secondary sources available. It provides readers with an engrossing personal perspective that is too often overlooked in favor of tales told from the map tables of generals and armchairs of political leaders."
Rocky Mountain Telegraph
"This man's story makes a valuable contribution to the history of the United States'' participation in World War I."

— Mae Woods Bell, Rocky Mountain Telegraph (NC)

On Point: The Journal of Army History

“Editor David Snead skillfully interweaves Browne’s personal wartime account within the larger context of the war, his personal relationship with Martha Johnson, and his tribulations in joining and fighting in the United States Army. . . . An American Soldier in World War I is a perfect introduction to the American participation in World War I and utilizes many of the primary and secondary sources available. It provides readers with an engrossing personal perspective that is too often overlooked in favor of tales told from the map tables of generals and armchairs of political leaders.”—On Point: The Journal of Army History

On Point: The Journal of Army History

“Editor David Snead skillfully interweaves Browne’s personal wartime account within the larger context of the war, his personal relationship with Martha Johnson, and his tribulations in joining and fighting in the United States Army. . . . An American Soldier in World War I is a perfect introduction to the American participation in World War I and utilizes many of the primary and secondary sources available. It provides readers with an engrossing personal perspective that is too often overlooked in favor of tales told from the map tables of generals and armchairs of political leaders.”

On Point: The Journal of Army History

“Editor David Snead skillfully interweaves Browne’s personal wartime account within the larger context of the war, his personal relationship with Martha Johnson, and his tribulations in joining and fighting in the United States Army. . . . An American Soldier in World War I is a perfect introduction to the American participation in World War I and utilizes many of the primary and secondary sources available. It provides readers with an engrossing personal perspective that is too often overlooked in favor of tales told from the map tables of generals and armchairs of political leaders.”—On Point: The Journal of Army History
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Product Details

Meet the Author


David L. Snead is an associate professor of history at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is the author of The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War.
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Table of Contents

1 Mobilization and training in the United States 11
2 From the states to a quiet sector in France 37
3 Training and action in a quiet sector 63
4 Champagne and the battle of the Ourcq River 87
5 Rest and the battle of Saint-Mihiel 109
6 The Meuse-Argonne offensive and the end of the war 125
App Composition of the rainbow division
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