The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

by Richard Rubin
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The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War by Richard Rubin

“Richard Rubin has done something that will never be possible for anyone to do again. His interviews with the last American World War I veterans—who have all since died—bring to vivid life a cataclysm that changed our world forever but that remains curiously forgotten here.”—Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914–1918

In 2003, 85 years after the end of World War I, Richard Rubin set out to see if he could still find and talk to someone who had actually served in the American Expeditionary Forces during that colossal conflict. Ultimately, he found dozens, aged 101 to 113, from Cape Cod to Carson City, who shared with him at the last possible moment their stories of America’s Great War. Nineteenth-century men and women living in the twenty-first century, they were self-reliant, humble, and stoic, never complaining, but still marveling at the immensity of the war they helped win, and the complexity of the world they helped create. Though America has largely forgotten their war, you will never forget them, or their stories. A decade in the making, The Last of the Doughboys is the most sweeping look at America’s First World War in a generation, a glorious reminder of the tremendously important role America played in the war to end all wars, as well as a moving meditation on character, grace, aging, and memory.

“An outstanding and fascinating book. By tracking down the last surviving veterans of the First World War and interviewing them with sympathy and skill, Richard Rubin has produced a first-rate work of reporting.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia

“I cannot remember a book about that huge and terrible war that I have enjoyed reading more in many years."—Michael Korda, The Daily Beast

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781482923582
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 05/21/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 17
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Richard Rubin is the author of Confederacy of Silence. He has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Smithsonian, and New York magazine. He lives in New York and Maine. Learn more about Richard Rubin at or follow him on twitter @LastDoughboys.

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The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an incredible book. Mr. Rubin painstakingly searched out the last remaining World War I veterans and documented their stories of service. These veterans were all over 100 years old when Mr. Rubin spokevwith them. The stories are presented with respect, warmth, and, in many cases, humor. An absolute gem of a book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Until recently, I, like many, had not taken the time to learn about WWI. The knowledge about the war which followed 20 years later far exceded the interest and story telling associated with the Great War. But after reading this book I am very thankful that Mr. Rubin extended such a great effort to record the stories told by these last doughboys. The author artfully documented the doughboys' war experience never shying away from the emotions, the horrors, the brutality and the caring comradship. The stories were so personal one could not help but develop a tenderness toward each veteran and a sadness knowing each had shortly died. Thanks to Mr. Rubin for recognizing the value in finding these men and recording their experiences before they died. It is sad to think of all the stories which are forever lost.
GrammieSE More than 1 year ago
It took me a while, but I read it thru. Very interesting and infoamative about WWI...most of which I have never read about.
jmgallen More than 1 year ago
“The Last of the Doughboys” is the result of Author Richard Rubin’s coast to coast quest to interview the last surviving American veterans of World War I. Spread over several years his interviews of dozens of men over the age of 100 is entertaining and edifying on several levels. The author makes use of many quotes in his narrative. Just the recognition that centenarians are different from other people as evidenced by the fact that they lived as long as they did and that they preserved dialects and vocabularies lost to younger generations is a point often made.. Their varied experiences from the training camps, transportation, front, trenches, and even stateside service fill in gaps not ordinarily neglected in histories of the war. Their later lives complete out their claim to being a pretty fair generation themselves. The veterans’ memories are supplemented by Rubin’s summaries of the “big stories”, the histories of the organization of the units, the delivery (The Navy Did Not Lose a Doughboy), the battles they fought and their return home. I am glad I selected “The Last of the Doughboys”. I learned a lot about the troops who carried the Stars and Stripes into the Great War. It provides a reminder to appreciate the elderly among us, and triggered a sense of remorse that I never asked my grandfather or uncles about their service, but Richard Rubin did not think of it until long after they were gone. I recommend it to any student of World War I, early 20th century America or anyone just looking for a good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rubin writes a wonderful book telling the stories of 100+ yaerold.veterns. He interspeses extra historical information throughtout the book, discussing a wide range of topics. An easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been fascinated by the changes brought about with WWI. This was a wonderful first person conversational and historical approach. Well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Told by the hundred year plus Veterans of the war. Interesting concept. A very good read really enjoyed enjoyed it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard about this book on the radio and thought it would be a good read. I just can't handle the detail of destruction and what they went through in the war.