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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Remembering a WWI Historian: George B. Clark, USMC

A friend of ours, Marine and historian George B. Clark, 90, died in his sleep on 23 December 2016 in Lebanon, NH.

George Clark (rt.) with Roads Reader Mark Mortenson
George is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jeanne; four children; four great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. George was the son of James B. and Alice L. Clark of Providence, RI. He joined the U.S. Marines during WWII just out of high school and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. For many years he administered grants, contracts, and patents for Brown University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. After retiring, he wrote history prolifically,  mainly on U.S. Marine history. 

George's books on the Marines in the Great War are the most thoroughly researched and readable that are available. A selection of three of his works that focus on the Marine Corps experience in the war are displayed below. (Click on the links to learn about the books in detail.) His works are at times very critical of the 2nd Division's high command as well as AEF GHQ, for repeatedly assigning the Marine Brigade's parent 2nd Division to predictably high-casualty-producing operations like Belleau Wood, Soissons, and Blanc Mont. George loved the Corps and all Marines, though.


  1. Thank you for this post. I own and have read a few of Mr. Clark's books; you are right, they are enjoyable and a great tribute to the Marines. World War I historiography has lost a great contributor.
    Pete Belmonte

  2. I echo Mr Belmonte's expressed gratitude for this posting recognizing George Clark and his many, many contributions to Marine Corps history. We will miss his counsel, but he will live on due to his numerous books and articles.

  3. Well-said. Our email exchanges on Belleau Wood, always memorable, will be even more meaningful now. Being mentioned in the Preface to Devil Dogs is one of my greatest personal achievements. "Rest in honored glory," George.

  4. George Clark was a major inspiration in my life. During WWI my grandfather and family patriarch, served with the Marines in the 66th Co. of 1/5. Since my youth I possessed his heavily dented Marine Corps helmet, which prompted me to know more, but my grandfather, who died in 1980 when I was 27, would not discuss the war. Years later George’s books and friendship filled that void, but I still thirst for more on the 4th Brigade. I’ll miss his insight, his humor and discussing his spring thaw to see if he may grow yet another season of tomatoes.

  5. Day by day, these guardians of our freedom slip away from us. May we never forget their service. Once lost, freedom isn't easily recovered, if at all.