|Published by BPC
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videos and preview the Journal.
|"Hell's Observer is one of the most fascinating and extensive memoirs of service in the AEF I have ever read. Graham's duties as an MP gave him incredible
freedom to see the battlefields of 1918 across the frontlines and back into the rear echelons. A keen observer, his views of life in the AEF add much to our
understanding of America's part in WWI"
Major (Ret) Stephen C. McGeorge
U. S. Army Historian
|"In Hell’s Observer: The Epic Wartime Journal of Private William J. Graham we get a different view of the American side of the Great War. Instead of the usual
perspective given by the front line infantryman, writing from several years' distance and memory who spent his war hip deep in mud and blood and the
absolute futility of it all, our observer was an MP serving just behind the front, helping direct troop movements and gather 'strays'. His job, therefore, allowed
him enough time to properly record what all he saw and thought, as it happened/when it happened. From his unique position in the madness of war, Graham
was able to see the troops moving up - eager and apprehensive; virile yet vague to wars realities - as well as the wreckage returning from the front - wounded
and worn; stripped of any illusions of glory. Close enough to the trenches for his life to be in danger on a regular basis (most of his work brings him near
enough to the front to be both shelled and gassed), he also spent some of his off time seeking wars realities and then recording the horror experienced by an
'interested outsider'. The results of his writings make for a well rounded and largely unbiased record of the war from one close enough to feel the heat of the
flame, yet far enough away not to be burned by it. Almost until the end he retains an optimism and a belief in 'The Cause'. And while the war eventually breaks
down some of his resolve, it never truly breaks him - nor diminishes the veracity of his writing.
Extremely well illustrated throughout with hundreds of photographs from the enormous collection of Bruce Jarvis - most never before seen - Hell's Observer
makes an excellent, well-rounded addition to the shelf of both the serious student of the AEF's experience in France, as well as one just seeking a hell of a
good read with plenty of fascinating photos. I devoured it in three days and almost immediately read it again; something I rarely have the time to do. I made the
time here. It was worth it and I'm sure I'll be turning to the work again as a research tool. I commend Stephen Badgley and Bruce Jarvis for rescuing Graham's
original manuscript and keeping it from fading into the oblivion of time. It has proven to be far too unique and valuable a record of the American experience in
France to have been consigned to such a fate. Well done gentlemen!"
Robert J. Laplander
Historian and Author of Finding the Lost Battalion: Beyond the Rumor's Myths and Legends of America's Famous WWI Epic.
|"This is one book that every American should read. I can tell you right now that Hell's Observer has received a "WOW! +” rating! ...it just doesn't get any higher than
this in a rating. The reader will be in a state of total awe and wonderment like a child on Christmas Morning. Hell's Observer puts the reader right on the front lines
with Private Graham! Does anyone have an extra gas mask? ...This is the best WWI book that I have ever seen! Period!"
The Lone Star Book Review
|Scroll Down to see reviews
|Last year after listening to the publisher of this book talk so excitedly about this journal and his plans to publish it for everyone to read, I decided I just had to be one
of those people.
Well, I have now read it in it's entirety and was very impressed. It is hard to believe what these young Americans had to go through to serve their country! The author
writes his daily experiences and no matter how horrible they sometimes are, he is still proud to be there. Parts of it are funny, parts sad and all of it is very
informative. Those who are interested in World War I (or any war) should find it very interesting and want it for their collection. Enjoy!
B. Simpson / Baltimore, Ohio
BPC Reviewer / Proofreader
|Not being much of a history buff, I was a bit reluctant to read this, but on the recommendation of a friend, I gave it a try. It's a compelling, first-person narrative that
really puts the reader in the (muddy) shoes of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during WWI. I recommend that readers open Google Earth and see
where the author and troops marched, ran and crawled through the villages of 1918 France - really makes you feel like you are there. Amazing the hardships they
went through and tenacity of our troops in the face of such brutal conditions.
M. MacDonald / Wilmington, N.C.
Customer Review on Amazon
|To watch a video presentation of this book,
turn off the audio above and
click on the cover image below.
|Lone Star Book Review
"Book of the Year"
|This journal by Private Graham is very hard to put down. Many nights I could hardly make myself set it aside to go to sleep. It is descriptive but not gorily so- it didn't
give nightmares or leave images floating in my mind that were a little too real, if you know what I mean. That isn't to say it didn't draw me in and make me feel all the
emotion of being there while painting vivid scenes before my eyes. It was captivating- in a "just right" sort of way.
Another thing I appreciated about this book is that it helped me to understand the letters from my ancestor who was in WWI and wrote home fairly frequently. His
letters were often censored by his higher-ups- that is until he realized what was happening and just stopped trying to add those very interesting tidbits (what a loss,
historically speaking!). Anyway, this book fills in some of the gaps and mysteries as the author was in the same areas as my hero was. It also shed some light on,
and added detail to, some things that were said in the letters.
One thing that surprised me was the size of the volume. It is 8"x11" and probably an inch thick. For some reason I'd expected a smaller book all the way around
(guess I could have read the specs). But the larger size is actually a good thing- it allows for better viewing of the photos and the words, which makes it fantastic for
the elderly friends we are sharing this with, who's eyes aren't what they once were. And speaking of photos, this book is simply full of them. They are fascinating,
educational, and put faces on the stories.
I'd recommend this for anyone who has an interest in history and especially is wanting to learn more about WWI. This book is being given as gifts to people we know,
as I mentioned above. Many elderly folks have a father or uncle who was in WWI and they love to read things that pertain to their family's history (most of our older
generation are extremely patriotic, anyway, having lived through WWII, and so just that makes them interested in what our boys, their fathers and uncles, went through
over there). It obviously makes a great gift for younger folks, too! Can't recommend this book highly enough.
K. Cormick / AVP Reviewer
|This book is awesome! The reader experiences what Private Graham saw in a way that I never believed possible before I read this first-hand account of
day-to-day life for the American soldier in Europe during the First World War. My grandfather was a Doctor in the American Expeditionary Forces and
commanded Field Hospital 92 in France during 1918. Since he died when I was only 10 months old, I never realized or appreciated what he experienced until I
read this fascinating account by Private Graham. Learning what Private Graham endured during the war made me realize what the word "hero" really means.
I commend C. Stephen Badgley and Author Bruce A. Jarvis for taking the time and effort to publish Private Graham's fabulous manuscript. Your contribution
to the understanding of America's role in the Great War is immeasurable. Historians and history buffs alike are deeply indebted to you. A masterpiece,
Stephen A. Arter / Amazon Review
8.5 x 11