100 years ago today, the United States joined the Allies and officially entered into World War I.
On June 6th of that year, the first American troops, also known as “doughboys”, landed in Europe. By the end of the war, two and a half years later on November 11, 1918, around 100,000 soldiers had lost their lives.
Today, we’d like to honor and remember the American soldiers who fought in the Great War by highlighting a poignant book based on a World War I doughboy’s diary.
Jeffrey Lowdemilk’s important and moving photographic journey, Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s World War I Diary, is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Lowdermilk followed his grandfather’s path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers.
“Jeff Lowdermilk has done more than provide a civic service—remembering the thousands of American doughboys who fought and died for freedom on the fields of France, Belgium, and Germany during World War I. He has done more than give us a personal testament to his grandfather’s bravery, memory, and the heartfelt relationship between a young man and his wise elder. He has given us a work of art. Lowdermilk’s achingly beautiful photographs of the graves, monuments, and fields of valor of the American Expeditionary Forces cannot fail to impress the reader with the heroism of a generation of Americans long and wrongfully forgotten. May his grandfather’s words and his spectacular photographic vision move you as much as they have moved me.”
-Bruce C. McKenna, creator, writer, and producer of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning miniseries, The Pacific, and writer of the television series, Band of Brothers
“Jeff Lowdermilk has made a significant contribution to the public memory of World War I. By combining the straightforward narrative of his grandfather, George A. Carlson, with his stunning photographs of memorials and landscapes associated with the war, Lowdermilk captures the sense of courage and sacrifice of that epochal moment in world history. In his introduction, he reminds us that, because the American role was relatively brief, this war is often overlooked in our history books. Because of his passionate dedication to this subject, the valorous service of his grandfather and all the grandfathers—including my own—who fought to defend freedom will not be forgotten.”
-Dr. Brent D. Glass, Director Emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
“From our first meeting, Jeff Lowdermilk has always impressed me with his dedication toward honoring America’s military men and women, both past and present. His photographs and narrative nobly connect us with his grandfather’s service as well as all of our World War I veterans. I wholeheartedly endorse this important work.”
-Brigadier General Jack Fox (Retired), New Mexico National Guard and Bataan Memorial Museum
About the Book
Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather’s World War I Diary is a stunning presentation of contemporary photographs taken by the author that are paired with diary entries written by his grandfather, George A. Carlson, who was a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I. Lowdermilk followed his grandfather’s path through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany and returned with these meticulously crafted photographs and his own engaging stories that bring the diary to life for contemporary readers.
Lowdermilk’s passion for World War I and military history began as a young boy when he listened to his grandfather tell his stories about serving as an infantryman— a “doughboy”—in Europe during the Great War. When his grandfather passed away in 1983, Lowdermilk’s mother gave him her father’s diary, which included not only lengthy descriptions of the landscapes, towns, and battles he had experienced, but also keen observations and insights about life as a doughboy for Mr. Carlson and his buddies.
Lowdermilk became fascinated with the diary, first transcribing it and then plotting his grandfather’s course. He immersed himself in the history of World War I and its geography, eventually retracing, more than a dozen years, the path of his grandfather’s journey.
This image-rich tour of European landscapes, battlefields, and monuments offers the reader an experience that is at once an intimate reliving of Carlson’s time as a doughboy, a lively collection of Lowdermilk’s travel anecdotes, and a moving expression of gratitude to American veterans of the Great War. The foreword by Helen Patton, granddaughter of General George S. Patton, Jr., adds an extra dimension to the narrative.
** Nominated for a 2015 IPPY Award from the Independent Publishers Association **
About the Author
Jeffrey A. Lowdermilk is a Santa Fe-based writer, photographer, and lecturer of America’s involvement in World War I and II who has traveled extensively in Europe during the past decades chronicling the two wars in words and pictures and, in turn, meeting with thousands of veterans who became friends and shared their own experiences and insights into what it was like to be there. His photographs have been exhibited widely at such institutions as the Colorado History Museum, National World War I Museum, and New Mexico History Museum, and he is the author of Saluting America’s World I Heroes, a historical narrative and photographic presentation that honored the ninetieth anniversary of the Armistice.