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Duffy's War: Fr. Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and the Irish Fighting 69th in World War I

Overview

The legendary “Fighting 69th” took part in five major engagements during World War I. It served in the front lines for almost 170 days, suffering hundreds killed and thousands wounded. This highly decorated unit was inspired by its chaplain, the famous Father Francis Duffy (whose statue stands in Times Square), and commanded by the future leader of the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), “Wild Bill” Donovan. One of its casualties was the poet Joyce Kilmer.

Due in large part to the ...

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Duffy's War: Fr. Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and the Irish Fighting 69th in World War I

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Overview

The legendary “Fighting 69th” took part in five major engagements during World War I. It served in the front lines for almost 170 days, suffering hundreds killed and thousands wounded. This highly decorated unit was inspired by its chaplain, the famous Father Francis Duffy (whose statue stands in Times Square), and commanded by the future leader of the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), “Wild Bill” Donovan. One of its casualties was the poet Joyce Kilmer.

Due in large part to the classic 1940 movie The Fighting 69th, starring James Cagney and Pat O’Brien (as Duffy), the unit still has strong name recognition. But until now, no one has recounted in detail the full story of this famous Irish outfit in World War I. The exciting Duffy’s War brings to life the men’s blue-collar neighborhoods—Irish mostly and Italian and overwhelmingly Catholic. These boys came from the East Side, the West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, the Gashouse, and Five Points; from Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island City, and Staten Island; and from Father Duffy’s own parish in the Bronx. They streamed out of the tenements and apartment houses, enlisting en masse. Brothers joined up, oftentimes three and four from one family.

Published during a resurgent interest in the doughboy experience of World War I, Duffy’s War also tells the fascinating history of New York City and the Irish experience in America. With this book, Stephen L. Harris completes his outstanding trilogy on New York National Guard regiments in World War I.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Stephen L. Harris, author of two other valuable works on New York National Guard units, has produced another memorable work adding to the accounts of those who served in the American Expeditionary Forces.”

“His in-depth research of people, places and events and easy-read approach can make anyone a New York Guard expert in short order.”

". . . .it is an outstanding book in which Stephen Harris sings, in a distinctive voice, of arms and the man. . . .The research in the entire book is impressive. . . . The social and personal information, intertwined with the meticulous accounting of trench warfare, surprisingly compliment each other. Together, they emphasize what it feels like to risk death twenty-four hours a day."

"Duffy’s War, the third and final volume in Stephen L. Harris’ trilogy on New York National Guard regiments in WWI, is a richly detailed and well-told narrative and one of the best books on that war in recent memory."

“. . . .the detailed accounting reflects the value of the personal accounts that Harris has so well examined and integrated into a stimulating and coherent narrative. . . .how urgently you read this book depends on who you are, but no matter what the answer to that question may be, it will be worth your time”

"Harris has produced a very readable, detailed, and moving account of the citizen-soldiers of the city, this time focusing on New York's most famous regiment, the 'Fighting 69th'. . . .Stephen Harris' trilogy on the National Guard regiments of New York City in World War I has been a resounding success and an important addition to the history of the AEF. One might well say he saved the best regiment for last."

"The ‘Fighting 69th’ New York National Guard—known in the U.S. Army as the 165th Infantry—was the most famed regiment in the AEF. In this very readable book, Stephen Harris captures the spirit as well as the achievements of this legendary unit and its indomitable officers and men."

"In Duffy's War, Stephen L. Harris has crafted a keenly researched and thoroughly engrossing history of the 'Fighting 69th.' Harris renders vivid portraits of Father Francis Duffy, 'Wild Bill' Donovan, and the other New York Irish who plunged into the horror of World War I's Western Front. This is an important book for any reader with an interest in well-written Irish-American, as well as American, history."fdsafda

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574886528
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/31/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 462
  • Sales rank: 1,389,972
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen L. Harris is the author of Duty, Honor, Privilege: New York’s Silk Stocking Regiment and the Breaking of the Hindenburg Line (Brassey’s, Inc., 2001), Harlem’s Hell Fighters: The African-American 369th Infantry in World War I (Brassey’s, Inc., 2003), and Duffy's War: Fr. Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and the Irish Fighting 69th in World War I (Potomac Books, 2006). He lives in Weybridge, Vermont.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     ix
Preface     xi
Prologue: "The War Was the Making of Me"     xvii
"Give Me A Man's Job"     1
"Shall We Fight for England?"     19
"Rainbow-There's the Name for the Division"     31
"Did You Ever Go Into an Irishman's Shanty?"     55
"Good-bye Broadway, Hello France!"     69
"It's a Huge Regiment Now"     77
"The People I Like Best Are the Wild Irish"     89
"A Willing, Bright, Strong, Clean Lot"     103
"Not a Gloomy Man in Town"     113
"Most Pitiful and Unsightly Bunch of Men I Have Ever Seen"     123
"We Are All Volunteers in This War"     137
"In the Wood They Call the Rouge Bouquet"     153
"Quiet Sectors Are Not Necessarily Quiet"     177
"From a Canny Scot to a Bold Irishman"     193
"It Will Be a Happy Day"     209
"The Last Joy Ride Any of Us'll Ever Get"     233
"All You Want Now Is Guts and Bayonets!"     249
"I Guess I Have Been Born to Be Hanged"     267
"We Sure Hated to See Him Get Killed"     281
"I Have Been Very Happy in Command of the Regiment"     297
"Not a Fight, But a Promenade"     311
"Over the River a Thousand Yawning Dead"     331
"You Expected to Have the Pleasure of Burying Me"     349
"We Looked Down from the Last Crest Above Sedan"     361
Epilogue: "We Want Him. We Need Him. He Has Earned It."     373
Notes     381
Selected Bibliography     413
Index     423
About the Author     435
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