THE AMERICAN LEGION STORY by Raymond Jr. Moley

THE AMERICAN LEGION STORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Is patriotism passe? Doctor Johnson called it ""the last refuge of the scoundrel."" Moley sees it as the first beerkeg of defense and 2.5 million legionnaires may agree. Many see local posts simply as places for Saturday night carousals of a kind lampooned by Sinclair Lewis. Author Moley brings a knowledgeable insight into history to support patriotism's spirit. The Legion was born in Paris in 1918 when Theodore Roosevelt Jr., recovering from a war wound, suggested to some respectable fellow officers that the American ideals which brought several million doughboys to France should be continued by a postwar veterans' organization. These ideals had great currency, among them a belief in national preparedness since the war made us a leading nation. The Legion was not conceived in horse-play. It has since become dedicated to strengthening America against subversion and laid open to the cynicism of sophisticates and academics. One undeniably good area of its activity is the rehabilitation of veterans. Its greatest achievement quavers on the intellectual: passage of the G.I. Bill through Congress. Yet, the oratory is still terrible at any meeting (as is the present Foreword by J. Edgar Hoover) and too much is included here -- a tall head of warm foam. But there are child welfare programs and practical public services supported by thousands of small posts...

Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce