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Duffy's War: Fr. Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and the Irish Fighting 69th in World War I Paperback – December 18, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1574886528 ISBN-10: 1574886525 Edition: First Edition

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Duffy's War: Fr. Francis Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, and the Irish Fighting 69th in World War I + Father Duffy's Story a Tale of Humor and Heroism, of Life and Death with the Fighting Sixty-Ninth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; First Edition edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574886525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574886528
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stephen L. Harris, author of two other valuable works on New York National Guard units, has produced another memorable work adding to the accounts of those who served in the American Expeditionary Forces.”

“His in-depth research of people, places and events and easy-read approach can make anyone a New York Guard expert in short order.”

". . . .it is an outstanding book in which Stephen Harris sings, in a distinctive voice, of arms and the man. . . .The research in the entire book is impressive. . . . The social and personal information, intertwined with the meticulous accounting of trench warfare, surprisingly compliment each other. Together, they emphasize what it feels like to risk death twenty-four hours a day."

"Duffy’s War, the third and final volume in Stephen L. Harris’ trilogy on New York National Guard regiments in WWI, is a richly detailed and well-told narrative and one of the best books on that war in recent memory."

“. . . .the detailed accounting reflects the value of the personal accounts that Harris has so well examined and integrated into a stimulating and coherent narrative. . . .how urgently you read this book depends on who you are, but no matter what the answer to that question may be, it will be worth your time”

"Harris has produced a very readable, detailed, and moving account of the citizen-soldiers of the city, this time focusing on New York's most famous regiment, the 'Fighting 69th'. . . .Stephen Harris' trilogy on the National Guard regiments of New York City in World War I has been a resounding success and an important addition to the history of the AEF. One might well say he saved the best regiment for last."

"The ‘Fighting 69th’ New York National Guard--known in the U.S. Army as the 165th Infantry--was the most famed regiment in the AEF. In this very readable book, Stephen Harris captures the spirit as well as the achievements of this legendary unit and its indomitable officers and men."

"In Duffy's War, Stephen L. Harris has crafted a keenly researched and thoroughly engrossing history of the 'Fighting 69th.' Harris renders vivid portraits of Father Francis Duffy, 'Wild Bill' Donovan, and the other New York Irish who plunged into the horror of World War I's Western Front. This is an important book for any reader with an interest in well-written Irish-American, as well as American, history."fdsafda

From the Publisher

Presents the first richly detailed history of the World War I service of one of the great regiments in U.S. history

Meet the men of the 69th Infantry Regiment, a National Guard Unit from New York City made up almost entirely of working-class Irish immigrants, their sons, or grandsons

Completes the author's stirring trilogy about the cross section of New Yorkers who answered the call to arms in 1917 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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These events, and these personalities make for a good story.
N. Rouse
If all you know of the Fighting 69th is the movie with James Cagney and Pat O'Brian you need to read this book.
Joseph Hourigan
I found this book very hard to put down once I started reading it.
John Wingfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on December 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The 69th regiment, is one of the oldest and most famous units in the United States Army. It's history goes back to 1851 when it was known as the 69th New York Militia. ('A' company can trace its roots further back to the Revolutionary War.) The unit gained fame at numerous Civil War battlefields and Gen. Lee gave it the name 'The Fighting 69th.'

This book takes the regiment into the next war, World War I, where its actions were no less heroic. It spent 170 days in the front lines suffering hundreds killed and thousands wounded. Perhaps its most famous members were Father Francis Duffy (whose statue is in Times Square, which technically is really Duffy Square), Wild Bill Donovan who headed the OSS in World War II, and the poet Joyce Kilmer ('Trees') who was killed. The regiment was part of the 42nd Rainbow Division under Douglas MacArthur.

This is the full, previously unpublished story of the regiments actions in World War I and fills out a trilogy of stories concentrating on individual regiments by the same author.

The 69th still exists. It was one of the first military responders at 9/11 - having two men killed there, and it was federalized and sent to Iraq in 2004.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. J. E. Baguley on January 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good book and thoroughly researched about the Fighting 69th Regiment New York US Infantry. It provides a very detailed account of the Regiment's actions in the Great War of 1914-1918, although the United States did not declare war on Germany until early 1917. The Regiment was transported to France towards the end of 1917 and went into the trenches in February 1918. The book describes the various actions in which the Regiment fought and the doughboys suffered very heavy casualties in its advance to the Hindenberg Line. The book was based upon the writings from his diary of the regimental chaplain Father Francis P Duffy, who also wrote a book in 1919 about the Regiment, a copy of which has recently been received from Amazon and will be my next read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Hanlon on December 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot about the American Expeditionary Force and the Fighting 69th, but Stephen Harris's study really expanded my knowledge about both. I'll certainly have a much better appreciation of Joyce Kilmer's "Rouge Bouquet" next time I hear it read and of the goings on at the River Ourcq next time I visit that battlefield. What I really enjoyed, however, was the author's biographical sketches and background on a whole raft of fascinating individuals. These include average Joes caught up in the adventure of lifetime, Medal of Honor recipients, plus well-known characters like Kilmer, Wild Bill Donovan and--most importantly--the namesake of the book, Father Francis Duffy. The good father turns out to be amazingly multi-dimensional: a good Samaritan to Teddy Roosevelt's returning malaria-afflicted Rough Riders, a learned modernist intellectual who works his way into his bishop's doghouse, a military politician of the first order, the proud protector of his Irish and unofficially Irish flock, and New York City's most beloved humanitarian. A strong recommendation for Duffy's War.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Tierney on December 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Five Stars. Best Book Yet On Fighting 69th.

Reviewer: James Tierney, Historian, 69th Regiment. Address: New York, NY.

Stephen L. Harris has finished his trilogy on New York City's National Guard regiments in World War I, and after reading "Duffy's War," I believe it may be the best of his three books. Perhaps I'm biased as the historian of the Fighting 69th, but his heroic and intimate portrayal of Father Duffy, Wild Bill Donovan, Joyce Kilmer and a host of other doughboy soldiers from New York's Irish neighborhoods is the best yet written about the regiment that traces its history back to before the American Civil War. Harris vividly follows the 69th through all its battles on the Western Front, beginning with the brutal march over the Vosges mountains in a blinding blizzard, to the bloody battle on the hills overlooking the Ourcq River, to the foul-up by a haughty corps commander at the very end of the war that led to a near disaster on the outskirts of the city of Sedan. His account of the Rouge Bouquet tragedy, which inspired Kilmer to pen one of his most memorable poems, is filled with such rich detail that just reading it is worth the price of the book. I recommend "Duffy's War" highly to everyone with a keen interest in World War I, especially the role played by New York City's citizen-soldiers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patty MacErnest on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband has this book in hardcover and liked it so much that he bought the soft covered version for an older gentleman he knows from the Catholic War Veterans: Father Duffy Post in Manhattan, NY. It is a well written and informative story that does great justice to the bravery and courage of this Catholic Chaplain and others from the Fighting 69th. It also tells the story of the immigrants of NYC as they fought and died together during this first World War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luke Killion on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Father Duffy's War" by Stephen L. Harris is an excellent and thorough examination of the entire 165th Infantry Regiment during World War I, yet one that is rich in personalities and human interest. Many books that take on the story of a regiment are lacking in the interpersonal or human feel amongst the men. Memoirs from individual soldiers can capture this feeling, such as "With the Old Breed" by Eugene Sledge or "Faithful Warriors" by Dean Ladd (of the 2nd Marine Division in WWII). Some regimental histories lack the intensity of first person narratives,but Harris' book is among the best discourses on battle from the company level to division, complete with the small actions of normal soldiers and the personalities and decisions of their leaders. The first comparison that comes to mind when reading this book is "Band of Brothers" by Stephen Ambrose. Harris definitely captured the struggle of the Irish 69th (the 165th's name in the years before WWI), which like all effective units, fought as a whole.

Though the title lists Father Francis Duffy and 1st Battalion leader Bill Donovan as the primary figures, Harris' research which sifted through the personal items of average soldiers as well as official records, creating a story with both overview and observations from the bottom up. "Band of Brothers" is perhaps one of the foremost works on warfare that tells the story of a company or battalion through the actions of their men, but I found that Harris' writing was perhaps even more engaging than that of Ambrose. If Ambrose created the mold, Harris has come close to perfecting it. He is able to relay the intensity of close quarters combat and the deadliness of the "going over the top" while retaining an objectivity that has the luxury of hindsight.
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