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In this unique history of the “Lost Battalion” of World War I, Alan D. Gaff tells for the first time the story of the 77th Division from the perspective of the soldiers in the ranks.
On October 2, 1918, Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey led the 77th Division in a successful attack on German defenses in the Argonne Forest of northeastern France. His unit, comprised of men of a wide mix of ethnic backgrounds from New York City and the western states, was not a battalion nor was it ever “lost,” but once a newspaper editor applied the term “lost battalion” to the episode, it stuck.
Gaff draws from new, unimpeachable sources—such as sworn testimony by soldiers who survived the ordeal—to correct the myths and legends and to reveal what really happened in the Argonne Forest during early October 1918.
Posted March 10, 2006
This was a good book, until I found Robert Laplander's book 'Finding the Lost Battalion'. That one is better. Still, this one is a good second choice with lots of nice detail, especially on the men and who they were. I think it spends altogether too much time focussed on their training and the first battles they were in though. Fully a third of the book is devoted to what they did before the lost battalion incident, which is too much. Then, once you get into the Argonne battle, there are no maps to follow and little good detail to paint the picture. It also skips over the first time these guys were trapped too, something Mr. Laplander's book goes into in much better detail. There is also not much about the two flyers that died looking for these guys and almost nothing at all from the German side of things. Like I said, it is not a bad book by ant means - just deficient. Mr. Laplanders book is much better, but this is a decent second choice. Both should be on anyones lost battalion shelf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.