The Yankee Division in the First World War: In the Highest Tradition

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Historians have been unkind to the 26th Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite playing a significant role in all the major engagements of the American Expeditionary Force, the “Yankee Division,” as it was commonly known, and its beloved commanding officer, Maj. Gen. Clarence Edwards, were often at odds with Gen. John J. Pershing. Subsequently, the Yankee Division became the A.E.F.’s “whipping boy,” a reputation that has largely continued to the present day.

In The Yankee Division in the First World War, author Michael E. Shay mines a voluminous body of first-person accounts to set forth an accurate record of the Yankee Division in France—a record that is, as he reports, “better than most.” Shay sheds new light on the ongoing conflict in leadership and notes that two of the division’s regiments received the coveted Croix de Guerre, the first ever awarded to an American unit.

This first-rate study should find a welcome place on military history bookshelves, both for scholars and students of the Great War and for interested general readers.