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Five Lieutenants

The Heartbreaking Story of Five Harvard Men Who Led America to Victory in World War I

James Carl Nelson

St. Martin's Press

James Carl Nelson tells the dramatic true story of five brilliant young soldiers from Harvard, a thrilling tale of combat and heroism

Five Lieutenants tells the story of five young Harvard men who took up the call to arms in the spring of 1917 and met differing fates in the maelstrom of battle on the Western Front in 1918. Delving deep into the motivations, horrific experiences, and ultimate fates of this Harvard-educated quintet—and by extension of the brilliant young officer class that left its collegiate and post-collegiate pursuits to enlist in the Army and lead America’s rough-and-ready doughboys—Five Lieutenants presents a unique, timeless, and fascinating account of citizen soldiers at war, and of the price these extraordinary men paid while earnestly giving all they had in an effort to end “the war to end all wars.”

Drawing upon the subjects’ intimate, eloquent, and uncensored letters and memoirs, this is a fascinating microcosm of the American experience in the First World War, and of the horrific experiences and hardships of the educated class of young men who were relied upon to lead doughboys in the trenches and, ultimately, in open battle.


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1
 
A RENDEZVOUS
 
 
BRING OUT THE LIVER! the instructor shouts. Bring out the kidneys!
Parry, thrust, turn—it doesn’t matter that their enemy is made of cloth, the bayonets of wood.
Stick it in, turn it.
Kill.
Forty-six hundred young men work at the bayonet in the May sun, sweat darkening the unfamiliar khaki on their backs. Parry. Thrust. Turn. A cool breeze stirs occasionally from nearby Lake Champlain and then wafts away. A runty army regular screams commands and at times comes in close, so close they can smell the tobacco on his breath
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Kirkus | FIVE LIEUTENANTS by James Carl Nelson
An intimate tracking of officers' perspectives during World War I.
- Kirkus Reviews

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • James Carl Nelson

  • JAMES CARL NELSON is an active member of the Western Front Association, which is devoted to the study of the Great War. The author of The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War, Nelson lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
  • James Carl Nelson © Ethan Nelson
    James Carl Nelson
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    Five Lieutenants

    The Heartbreaking Story of Five Harvard Men Who Led America to Victory in World War I

    James Carl Nelson

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    St. Martin's Press

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