NEWTON D. BAKER: AMERICA AT WAR. By Frederick Palmer. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1931, 2 vols., 421, 451 pp. $7.50.
ONE turns the pages of these volumes with a feeling almost akin to excitement. Here, for the first time, is the picture of what went on inside the War Department in those incredible years of 1917 and 1918. We see a country in which a desire for peace predominated suddenly aroused to a passion of militant activity, willing to root up every sacred tradition and transform every objective of private and public effort if only it could win a military victory over its enemy. We follow the steps leading up to the sweeping draft act -- itself a violent break with American tradition. We see the considerations that led to the appointment of Pershing and the battle of giants that followed when Pershing, commanding in France, and March, the Chief-of-Staff in Washington, exchanged cablegrams in words that did not always disguise what they felt. We see Theodore Roosevelt marching on Washington with his cohorts, demanding the right which he could not obtain to raise a division of troops and threatening to bring down the temple in reprisal. We see the desperate struggle between the two conceptions as to how American soldiers in France could best be employed -- whether as a separate army or as a reserve infiltrated into the forces of the Allies. Here is the text of the negotiations that led up to the appointment of Foch as generalissimo of the Allied forces, and of Baker's fortunate cable to the President that helped precipitate the event. Here, too, is the incredible story of Clemenceau's attempt to relieve Pershing of the command at the time when our Meuse-Argonne offensive had struck a snag.
Truly these were days of great action. We trained troops in terms of millions. We spent lavishly in terms of billions. We put a gigantic army into France and maintained a battle-line three thousand miles away from home. Never in its history
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