Five Lieutenants: The Heartbreaking Story of Five Harvard Men Who Led America to Victory in WWI
In the spring of 1917, the United States voted for war and officially entered the maelstrom that was the First World War. Many Americans, having eagerly followed the news of the war since its start in 1914, enlisted immediately. This book follows five of those young men, all students at Harvard who, having undertaken officer training camp in Plattsburg, set off for France as newly minted second lieutenants. These five officers, almost all from privileged backgrounds, suffer a rude awakening even before arriving at the Front, as they must contend with the tedium of training, the privations of army life, and the difficulty of finding themselves in command of older, more experienced veterans. Drawing upon their own letters and memoirs, as well as those of friends and family who waited back home for news, the author gives us a detailed glimpse into the life of a young officer. My one criticism is that, given how well researched as this was, I did find myself wishing for footnotes at times, as there were many interesting facts I would have liked to follow further.