No Peace with the Dawn: A Novel of the Great War
1915. War is tearing up Europe, but the United States is not involved. While the situation worsens and Congress debates, Americans are making difficult decisions at home. No Peace with the Dawn is the story of four Utah teenagers who volunteer for service early.
Clara is a good mechanic, but women are excluded from these classes at her college. Volunteer service will get her away from her abusive father. Joseph is Shoshone. College is not an option, and he’s been turned down for American citizenship. Trudi has family in Switzerland and her parents are Swiss, but unfortunately Trudi is often mistaken for a German. Reed has his father’s full support to train as a military officer. Each has reasons for leaving home or changing directions.
1917. When the U.S. enters the war, Reed is a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps assigned to Patton’s Army in France. Joseph, after trying to enlist twice unsuccessfully, has been drafted. Trudi, who volunteers at home, encounters prejudice because of her accent. Clara, on leave from college, is on her way to France as a volunteer with a YMCA group. No Peace with the Dawn describes the horrors of trench warfare and the war-related violence back home.
The first chapters use too much minutiae to set each scene. Once the young people set out on their missions, however, the pace reflects the urgency of wartime and, concomitantly, the prose improves. The variety of experience—the dangers and frustrations—encountered by the four young people from Utah typifies that of thousands of young Americans and Canadians who fought the War to End All Wars as volunteers.