November 14 , 2009

Huts in Hell


This book is a record of my observations in France, where I made a deliberate choice between seeing the American, French, and British fronts casually, or studying the army of the United States carefully; I decided to spend all of my time with the American soldier. I lived with him from the port of entry to the front line, and saw him under every condition of modern warfare.

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Since I left him in the trenches of northern France every day has added glorious testimony to the evidence that moved me to write in one of the chapters of this book: "The American soldier is the worthy inheritor of the finest traditions of American arms, a credit to those who bore him, an honor to the nation he represents, and the last and best hope that civilization will not fail in her struggle to establish the might of right."

I have not aspired to write a complete chronicle of the American overseas army, but have tried to record faithfully what I saw of the men with the colors, and my impressions of the efficient agencies contributing to their well-being and comfort. May the message of the book be worthy of the supreme motives that have brought us as a people into this struggle for international righteousness and permanent peace.

I went to Europe as the official representative of the United Society of Christian Endeavor, as chairman of the United Committee on War Temperance Activities in the Army and Navy, as commissioner of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, and representing the National Temperance Council of America.

My observations in France were made unaccompanied by a military officer, and the way was not prepared before me. I saw things at their best and at their worst, just as they were. Before going to France I spent six weeks in England and Scotland speaking under the auspices of the Prohibition Educational Campaign.

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