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

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Four Outstanding AEF Regimental Histories

Author Stephen L. Harris, is not only an award-winning historian of the Summer Olympics but is also one of the finest and most prolific chroniclers of the American Expeditionary Forces in the Great War. He specializes in studies of highly active regiments, which allows him to focus on the soldiers and their experience in combat. Harris also has an outstanding, easy-to-read style.  Anyone with a deep interest in the American effort in World War One should consider adding each of these volumes to their library.

  • Duty, Honor, Privilege is the story of the 107th "Silk Stocking" Regiment of the 27th New York Division that helped capture the Hindenburg Line.
  • Harlem's Hell Fighters tells of the service of the 365th segregated regiment that served with distinction under French command.
  • Duffy's War is an account of the actions of the 165th Regiment ("Fighting 69th") of the 42nd Rainbow Division, sometimes told through the eyes of the division's famous chaplain, Father Francis Duffy.
  • Rock of the Marne give the history of the 38th Regiment of the 3rd Regular Division that played a key role in halting the last German offensive of the War.

You can order these below through Amazon:   


  1. I wrote a review of 'Duffy's War' back in July, 2013 and it appeared on Roads shortly thereafter. An excellent read!

  2. I highly recommend "Duty, Honor, Privilege" and "Rock of the Marne." Both are outstanding and I would suppose that "Harlem's Hell Fighters" and "Duffy's War" are equally good.

  3. All four books are essential not only for the history of the war, but also for a real immersion into the home life of the soldiers and insight into that era's thinking and culture. "Harlem's Hell Fighters" is a welcome addition to the mostly monochrome WW I accounts of other historians.

  4. Greetings all of you fellow WWI Historians.....I have 600 + books & periodicals covering the period 1870-1920, and I have all 4 of these wonderful books in my library.

    When I was 27 (1974, and an E-6 in the Army), I had the good, great fortune to participate in a semester-long adventure entitled, "World War I, A Living History" - a course offered by the University of Maryland (Baumholder, GE Campus). That experience was, for me, life-changing.

    During the scholastic week we read and talked about all aspects of a particular timeframe in WWI , including battles. AND, IMPORTANTLY, On the following weekend we actually went to those same Western Front battlefields....I was blown away by what I saw and experienced !!

    Subsequently I was assigned to SHAPE HQ, BE from 1980-1982, and used that opportunity to revisit the same battlefields, as well as explore others...this time with my family in tow. My sons were blown away as well.

    Since then, I have collected, and read, over 600 books covering the period before, during, and after WWI. Several of those books were written in the course of that conflict, including a 6-volume-set of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The British Campaign in France and Flanders". I have also collected a myriad of items from the battlefields and purchased many more. I have one room in the house the family calls "The War Room", where nearly all of my WWI materials reside, less about half the books which are in my office.

    So....I highly recommend these books at getting a very-insightful view of the soldiers and their experiences during this cataclysm.

    As someone said. "War is Hell!".

    Especially in this instance and all of the "fall out" from the further debacle of 1919...the so-called Versaille "Treaty" and everything that we, the descendants of that mess, are facing to this very day.

  5. Great post. Another terrific AEF regimental history is 'Days of Perfect Hell', the US 26th Infantry Regiment in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive October - November 1918, by Peter Belmonte. In particular, this book details the fighting in the Exermont corridor in early October. Regards, John Rieth