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Finding the Lost Battalion: Beyond the Rumors, Myths and Legends of America's Famous WW1 Epic Paperback – October 13, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (October 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411676564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411676565
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,340,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Let me preface this by saying that for me, the First World War is my passion. I teach it at a university level, and I am a published author in the field. One of the triggers for this was when I read the Pratt and Johnson book on the Lost Battalion as a ten year old. As a result I have always had an interest in the incident, and I have picked up all of the recent books on the topic, and there have been several. I could have saved my money by waiting for the Laplander book. (Although Slotkin does present an interesting juxtaposition by looking at the African-American regiments in his book, which is not just about Whittlesley's command).

Robert Laplander has written one of the finest narratives of a military unit in battle that I have had the pleasure to come across. His knowledge of not only what went on in the pocket, but of the topography and personalities brings a depth that is rarely encountered. There have been some marvelous books about WW1 combat that have come out over the last decade, but none as focused on a small unit action as this one. For the reader who wants a good idea of the reality of the fighting in the Meuse-Argonne, this is the book.

From a literary standpoint the book is wonderful as well. I have been fortunate enough to attend one of Mr. Laplander's lectures on the incident, and as I read the book I could hear his voice speaking. Rather than dry academic writing, it is as though Laplander was sitting down with the reader over a cup of coffee and telling the story. This is not to imply that the writing style is disjointed, quite the opposite. Continuity is always maintained, and all points well cited. Which brings up the other point. The research going into this book was very in-depth and varied in types of material. A brilliant piece of historical digging.

I highly recommend this book.
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World War I has become a minor passion of mine, so I read as many books on the topic as I can squeeze in. One of the first was the 1938 book, The Lost Battalion. I was hooked. Then along came the thin volume, Five Days in October. I loved it. Then I got this... WOW!

Robert Laplander has written the definitive work on the subject. It's extremely well researched. The writing is terrific, engaging and entertaining. He not only provides reams of detail, but he does it while keeping you interested and awake. He tells the story in a manner that is clearer and more accurate than any of the other books I've read on the topic. The author is very engaged with his subjects and his excitement gets transmitted right to the reader. I'm sorry the book is done.

Compared to the other small books on this topic, this one makes you feel like you're creeping through the woods, minute by minute, under fire, bullets and gas and shells. All this while communicating the history. It's just amazing. He gets a lot more of the German point of view across than I've read in most books on World War I.

I have to say one thing about the book that really irked me though. The maps in the paperback edition stunk. No other way to describe it. There was only one per chapter and it was confusing and difficult to read. Not only that, but the printing of the maps provided was in this large scale dots sort of thing like an old time comic book that made it even worse. It's a good thing the rest of the book was so utterly amazing or the maps might have dropped this down to a four or three star review.

If you're interested in World War I, this is a must read. If you need a good book, regardless of interest, this is a must read.
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This book is the last word on the Lost Battalion. It is by far the most comprehensive, fact-driven account of the subject. It's an easy to understand narrartive with a logical timeline, maps, and pictures which draw you into the story. Every aspect of the event is thoroughly researched and discussed. The book covers the soldiers' lives before, during, and after the war, exploring far more time than just those five days, and far more than just the Argonne Forest. As you read, you'll realize these aren't just characters in a book; they're real men who became heroes by just getting their job done. The author's respect and passion for the subject is contagious. He has truly done these brave men justice.
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Robert Laplander has the gift of narrative, with the well-honed senses of a keen researcher. I know from personal experience the profound sensation that comes from standing on the battlefields of the Great War and visiting with the ghosts of the past as you follow in the very footsteps of our brave men, those who made the ultimate sacrifice for democracy so long ago. From meticulous work and repeated visits to France, Laplander brings back to us the anonymous faces of the boys come men who left their homes and daily lives to experience the adventures of war. What these troopers found waiting for them was the horror of slaughter and the bitter decision of duty.

Laplander gives you the feeling of the trenches with an extraordinary series of character sketches that make you feel like the men of the Lost Battalion are your own friends, your own comrades in arms. Finding the Lost Battalion is a very readable meld of big-picture unit action with a focus on the situations of individual Doughboys. It puts the reader there among the troops in trees of the Argonne, under the rain of artillery and the clatter of the Maxim guns. You'll enjoy this read for many hours and revisit their story many, many times. Well done.

Byron Scarbrough, Author, They Called Us Devil Dogs
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