By Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown
Pellissier’s diary and his letters to family members in the US express a landscape of this ghastly struggle: from the horror of being lower than hearth with 3 thousand German shells falling at the French troops on a daily basis to the monotony of lengthy quiet hours spent in chilly, rainy trenches. He writes of the grinding and indecisive personality of the battling within the Vosges and of the just about ritualistic shelling and constrained tactical offensives, resembling the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the medical institution, from officer education college, and from front on the Somme. He relays information of all of the significant battlefields—Flanders, Verdun, Russia, Austria, Gallipoli, Italy, Serbia, and the Suez. He additionally reviews at the new expertise that modified the character of conflict: the desktop gun, new airplanes, Uboats, greater artillery, barbed cord, and poison gases.
Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a helpful addition to the literature on global conflict I. even if traveling the battlefields of Europe, learning the historical past of the warfare, or sitting in an armchair at domestic, readers will locate Pellissier a competent and personable guide.
The greatnephew of Robert Pellissier and a minister by way of profession,
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Extra info for A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a & M University Military History Series)
My Spaniard turned on all the lights and began to smoke. . Wednesday, September 2d. When we reached Havre, the sea was perfectly smooth. We crossed Le Pérou crowded with Belgian soldiers, the ship being northbound. In the city we saw a good many English infantry and troops of English artillery men passed by singing. a good idea of hell In the harbor, a destroyer, several yachts turned into hospital boats. The hotels and the Navigation buildings were so many hospitals. The tramcars had women conductors.
I shall feel quite at home. It is up in the mountains I love best. If the Germans are not cleaned out by the middle of October we shall be sent to the front, according to all probability. I am not worried in any way. I don’t care to look for trouble, but if trouble comes my way it will not disturb me. The news of the destruction of the Cathedral of Rheims came to1 day. The Germans must be crazy. Their actions are incredible. It’s all up with their prestige as a civilized nation and whatever may be their eﬀorts they will get whipped in the end.
But they are very delicate, especially the reds, and the ﬁelds are greener than they would be in New England. a good idea of hell It’s fun to walk with a lot of Frenchmen and boys. I don’t believe a yard is gone over without giving rise to some joke. They josh from start to ﬁnish. No man, woman, child, tree or bush or cow met on the way can escape from a jibe of some sort. They don’t do it in a disagreeable spirit. It’s simply to kill time and shorten miles. You must know as well as I do that the Germans are holding like grim death in the North and that your race and my race are hammering at them and that the result is pretty nearly a deadlock.