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Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America has 37 ratings and 3 reviews. Katie said: Fantastic book about the ways World War I shaped American. Review of Keene’s “Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America”. Kerry Irish. George Fox University, [email protected] Follow this and. Why is World War I important in American history? Quite simply, the Great War generation played a critical role in constructing the modern U.S. Army, turning.

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Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America by Jennifer D. Keene

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Keene is an exceptional work examining the more social aspects of the First World War. Specifically, it focuses on the ways that the war affected the citizens-turned-soldiers, and the ways that they themselves remakin America as a result of their experiences.

What is most notable about the thesis and the entire book is that it practically ignores the war itself, concentrating entirely upon the American soldiers and their interactions with each other, the French, British, and their own people on their return home. Most emphasized is their interactions with the US Government, particularly in regards to the draft and whether or not the government owed the soldiers some form of compensation for the losses they had sustained while at war whether physical or mental injuries, or missing job opportunities.

After blunderings and failings across the decades the Bonus act, the Bonus March, and etc. Keene goes into great depth to chronicle the ways that the Great War experience changed the way that the Army treated their soldiers.

This was a more immediate outcome than the social welfare, and began to be seen as soon as the draft came into effect. This draft was an efficient and rapid one, expanding the armed forces from the initialto an end of 3. These citizens-turned-soldiers, so quickly inducted from civilian life into the rigors of the disciplined army, did not respond so well to the hierarchy and discipline.

Their resistance prompted a variety of changes in the structure of the army disciplinary system, from the methods of training to the ubiquitous courts-martial. These changes, provoked as they were by the common citizen-soldier, went a long ways to improve the army, thus better preparing it for the next citizen-soldier war, and that the most famous of the century: As is the case with any book written on any war, Doughboys is not alone in the histories on the First World War.


However, it is unique in that it is more a specific case study of the social relations of the American soldiers in war rather than a broad overview or a limited biography This narrow focus renders the study all the more interesting, as it examines a little-known and little studied aspect of the outcomes of the war, but brings about the conclusions in a relevant way.

As such, the strength of the book lies in its excellent narrative and marked conclusions on the effects of the veterans of WWI, particularly in the regards to the steps they took to secure compensation for the losses sustained in the service. However, it is extremely narrow in focus, which could either be taken as a weakness for those looking for a broader narrative or a complimentary strength detail in the illustrative thesis.

It is recommended to take the latter view, as the book is an excellent contribution to the understanding of how the experiences of the Doughboys led to changes in civilian perception, Army policy, and government legislation, thus securing future veterans a better future than the doughboys had experienced after the Great War.

The author is professor and chair of the department of history at Chapman University, specializing in the American military experience of World War One. I would recommend this book if you are interested in the ‘other side’ of WWI, or social histories in general. It helps to round out your perspective. My husband is a veteran and interested in military history. His grandfather was a WWI veteran and he’s enjoying this book about the veterans of this time period.

If you’re a military history buff, this is a good one. It gets into the specifics of the problems these vets experienced both on and off the battlefield. One person found this helpful. A real WWI one history read.

“Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America” by Jennifer D. Keene

Establishing tradition of modern civilian army, a tradition disappearing with reliance on all-volunteer army. It is clear, from the beginning through to the end that Keene has a great passion for, and an in-depth knowledge of World War I, but unlike other histories of the war, Keene focuses attention on the soldier.

Officer or enlisted, policy maker or foot soldier, Keene tells the story of the Doughboys and their journey from civilians to veterans, in the process identifying the tremendous impact they had on the nation and its military structure. Utilizing an easy to read, and often times subtly humorous style, Keene explores the obstacles facing President Wilson and the army leaders when war became inevitable.


As in previous wars ethnic, cultural, and regional divisions and squabbles had to be dealt with before a unified force could be mobilized. Keene begins by leading the reader step-by-step from the early days of conscription issues and propaganda, to the training fields with their copious issues developing out of the creation a civilian melting-pot military. In the process, she highlights the various solutions which evolved while dealing with the problems faced training such a large force.

Whether it was the issue of health standards, language, ethnic and racial issues, or simply educational hurdles caused by illiteracy, Keene mixes key facts with insightful quotes and explains how a tough no-nonsense military leadership went from commanding obedience to negotiating it. Keene’s history is a story of the soldier but it isn’t the standard battlefield experience that she presents. Instead, she presents the cultural transformation that affected both the individual and the institution.

If you are looking for battlefield analysis, this may not be the book for you. However, if you are looking for insight into the changes to the military organization and culture, this would be a good resource. If you are seeking a better understanding of the contributions made by “Greatest Generation,” then this book is a must read.

It was for my boss, but he seemed to get what he needed from it. Great read for those cold winter months.

Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America

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