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Remembered Today:

Kitchener's Mob


andigger
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I found this book in a used book store yesterday and just couldn't pass it up. Published date is 1916. I was just wondering if anyone on forum had read it. Not only because it is a Yank in the BEF, but because of its war time publish date it sounds like a fascinating read. I'll add a review here when I am done.

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Found another book - 'The Fateful Alliance' by Kennan. Has anyone read this one?

BTW... used book stores can be very addictive.

Andy

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Hi Andy,

I am familiar with Kennan's "The Decision to Intervene" about the Allied intervention in Russia but I don't have the Fateful Alliance.

Kennan I can reccommend, he was quite the authority on Russia for his time.

If you like used bookstores check out:

Abe Books

Don't blame me for your bankruptcy, though!

Neil

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  • 5 weeks later...

Started reading Kitchner's Mob and it is fairly interesting, and reads incredible quick. The author, James Norman Hall, tells how he was hiking in the Weslh country side when war broke. He was caught up in the hysteria and novelty of the whole thing and went to the local draft board to see what it would be like. Three days he stood in line to volunteer only to chicken out when he was next in line.... on the third day he finally went through with it.

It is also interesting to see how he tries to fit in, as an American he is immediately identified by his accent, and he also comments that he is made very uncomfortably by the class distinctions in the British Army. He does wind up in the Royal Fusiliers, and I am to the point when they embark for France in May 1915.

More to come...

Andy

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Read it a while ago and enjoyed it. I suppose the only thing is that as it was written during the war there is a suspicion of the extent to which it was "propaganda".

Simon

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Andy,

Have read "Kitcheners Mob" by J.N.Hall and found it very good, but it doesn't end there. Should you ever get the chance try and find these other two books by Yanks who served in the British Army;-

"Over the Top" published 1917 and written by Arthur Guy Empey former Sgt in Jersey National Guard served as a machine gunner in 167th Bde M.G.Coy/56th Division.

"A Yankee in the Trenches" published in 1918 and written by R.Derby Holmes served in 22nd Bn, London Regiment(The Queens).

These three first class books have pride of place on my book shelf, and all three authors were eventually wounded and discharged. The books eventually faded into obscurity with America's entry into the war, but it is still estimated that some 30,000 American's actually served with the British & Imperial Forces prior to 1917. How many more published/unpublished works by Yanks, who formerly served in our forces, are out there is unknown.

Graham.

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Hello All,

This is my first posting so please excuse any errors of protocol, etc..

Another book by an American who served in the BEf is as follows:

SHELLPROOF MACK, An American's Fighting Story by Arhtur Mack. He joined the 23rd Londons in July 1915. He got to France in 1916. He was wounded at least twice & discharged under KR 392 XVI on Oct. 26th 1917. He was no kid, his age on discharge being 40 yrs old, his height 5'4". The book includes photos of him in uniform and copy of his Army Form B2079. His service number was 702734. The book was published in 1918 by Small Maynard Co. of Boston, Mass.. He earned a BWM & Victory Medal and a SWB.

I have done some research on his postwar life & the story is not a happy one. He died in 1942 & the obit says from the effects of mustard gas poisoning suffered in Aug. 1917 near Passchendael in Flanders. He had no living relatives to bury him & faced an unmarked grave. Luckily his old classmates from his school learned of his death & paid for his burial in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Boston, Mass..

I don't know if any of the events he describes in the book are "hyped" or not but the book is as good a picture as any of service in the trenches by an American in the British Army. I found it worthwhile to read & research the author.

I have several other books by Americans if anyone would be interested in my listing them here.

Thankyou for allowing me to join this very informative group.

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Scott- I think the two Halls are different people, although this is only surface analysis. In the book I read he goes by Jamie and not Jimmie. I could be wrong though.

I don't think there is any out righ propoganda in the book. He goes to lengths in the beginning to say as little as possible about the particulars of what his unit was doing and where they were going. By the time Loos starts he gets very specific.... we are to the left of Hill 70 directly infront of Hulluch advancing at a 45 degree angle.

I have since finished the book, and I was a little disappointed by the ending. I got the sense he wanted to finish the book and move on to something else. There is no description of why he left the ranks (although it is assumed he is wounded). At the start of the story there is a lot of analysis and description of feeling, at the end he is telling facts. I still like the book, and would recommend it, but am disappointed in the finish.

Andy

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