Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Remembering a Veteran: 2Lt Louis Pergaud, 166th R.I., Killed 100 Years Ago Today

Lt Pergaud, Center
Louis Pergaud was a French award-winning writer and soldier, whose principal works were known as "Animal Stories" due to his featuring animals in lead roles. His most notable work was the novel La Guerre des Boutons (The War of the Buttons).

He had done his mandatory military service 12 years before the war and had evolved into a strident anti-cleric, anti-militarist, and pacifist. He responded to the mobilization order with an attempt at registering as a pacifist but was denied. Pergaud was subsequently assigned from the reserves to the 166th Regiment, which was deployed on the Woevre sector, southeast of Verdun.

His misfortune came when he was trapped in barbed wire during an attack, wounded, and taken prisoner by the Germans.  Pergaud was killed on 8 April 1915 when a French shell hit the hospital.

Movie Poster for One of the Films

His literary fame lives on, however, especially due to La Guerre des Boutons. That work is the story of a play war between the children of two villages (the victors take buttons off their opponents as tokens) that escalates into serious fighting.  According to Wikipedia, the novel has been reissued 30 times and has been

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