Hollihan examines the wartime service of 12 men and three women and how it affected the rest of their lives.
A few—the four sons of Theodore Roosevelt; baseball great Christy Mathewson—were famous while they served. Others, such as Missouri farmer (and later president) Harry Truman and recent Oxford graduate J.R.R. Tolkien, rose to fame much later. Harlem Hellfighter Henry Lincoln Johnson won the Croix de Guerre and, posthumously, the Congressional Medal of Honor—but the war drove him to alcoholism and an early grave, the exact location of which is unknown. A young German architect chronicled his war in a collection of 600 photographs; Marie Curie's self-possessed teenage daughter ran a mobile X-ray unit at the front; young Ernest Hemingway conflated three weeks of active duty into a lifetime of stories. Each sketch draws from the subject's own words whenever possible, with no footnotes but with endnotes and a bibliography. In clear, unsentimental, third-person language, they offer a series of small glimpses that, when taken as a whole, present a full picture of the conflict and the impact it had on ordinary lives: "The numbers were not in his favor. A chasse pilot lived an average of 11 days when Quentin [Roosevelt] arrived at the Western Front." Black-and-white photos add to the sense of humanity.
A worthwhile addition to every library collection and a natural for military-history enthusiasts. (Nonfiction. 12-18)