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.
What Readers Are Saying:
“There is no other book that deals with the 26th Division in World War One. . . . That division was one of the first to arrive in France, and, along with the 42nd, 1st, and 2nd Divisions, formed the core of the AEF under John J. Pershing. . . . For those interested in World War I, a book on the 26th and its controversial commander will be welcomed.”--James Cooke, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Mississippi
“This is the first detailed history of the 26h (Yankee) Division in many years and is unabashedly upbeat in the fact of often unjustified criticism of the division’s performance on the Western Front.” --Western Front Association
“Michael Shay has mined an impressive collection of first person accounts to tell the story of the AEF’s most controversial division.” --Dr. Mark Grotelueschen, author of The AEF Way of War
“It is replete with personal accounts based on the letters and diaries of veterans as well as regimental and other unit histories.” --The Listening Post
“This is the first detailed history of the 26th (Yankee) Division in many years and is unabashedly upbeat in the fact of often unjustified criticism of the division’s performance on the Western Front.”--Len Shurtleff
“This is a critical yet nicely balanced book and a fitting defense of the battle performance of the National Guard in the Great War. The author’s use of sources, including materials from the National Archives and, especially, personal records from the Military history Institute at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is more than adequate and he places the 26th Division’s experience in appropriate context. I recommend this well written volume to all students of the American Army in the First World War.”—Military History
". . . adds substantially to the revisionist history of the American battle experience in the Great War."--Journal of Military History
"A good read for anyone interested in the Great War and the American Army." - New York Military Affairs Symposium
". . . gives the reader a comprehensive look at the division and its experience in the war." -- A. A. Nofi, Strategy Page