A human-centered approach that seamlessly blends the political background, diplomatic rivalry, war plans, technological debates, leadership, grand strategy, operational strokes, tactical performance, morale, and war termination, at every level of warfare, limited and unlimited, symmetric or asymmetric, always fused in a cohesive, gripping narrative that presents the whole picture in rigorous, unsentimental detail.
The problems America faced in January 1919 are the same problems we face today: rising authoritarians, a conflicted West, isolationism, and technological disruption. See how Woodrow Wilson attacked the problem.
To break the bloody stalemate of WW1, armies revolutionized weapons and tactics in ways that still influence combat today.
World War I| A.E.F.| Meuse-Argonne
The American role in World War I is one of the great stories of the American Century, and yet it has largely vanished from view. It must be baldly stated: Germany would have won World War I had the U.S. Army not intervened in France in 1918.
1918 was the year that the United States became what it has been ever since: the greatest of the great powers. But it was also the year that failures in American leadership, combined with a partisan media and a gridlocked Congress, undermined Washington’s international position, paving the way for World War II.
A quarter of the Doughboys who defeated Germany in 1918 were foreign-born. They slipped through "the unguarded gates of American citizenship" from Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Ireland, and elsewhere, and then fought and died for the U.S.A.
“Sons of Freedom provides a wonderful description—warts and all—of the army that the United States sent to fight in France in 1918. Wawro’s depiction of the battles is truly horrifying, and his analysis of the strategy and politics on both sides wonderfully clear. It is the best book yet about the Doughboys, and one of the most important I have read about the First World War.”
—Sir Michael Howard, Regius Professor of Modern History (emeritus), University of Oxford
“Geoffrey Wawro adds to his luster as one of America's leading military historians with the meticulously researched Sons of Freedom. He up-ends the conventional understanding of how World War I ended, showing that the military prowess of the American Expeditionary Forces was of critical importance in the defeat of Wilhelmine Germany even if the U.S. suffered far less than the other combatants. The Doughboys finally get their long overdue credit in this important work of revisionist history. Anyone who wants to understand what really happened in World War I must read this book.”
-- Max Boot, author of The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam
“Geoffrey Wawro has written distinguished works of military history before, but this might be his most compelling. His tale of the Doughboys is gripping, his argument about their accomplishment is persuasive, and his enthusiasm for the era and the subject is irresistible.”
-- H.W. Brands, author of The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
“In this bold and bracing new history, Geoffrey Wawro argues that the American intervention in World War I was decisive, and that the Allies would not have won the war without it. What is more, the critical American contribution was not, as we are usually told, financial; nor even material or technological, as was the case in World War II. Rather, it was about raw infantry manpower. Surprising the Germans, American Doughboys stormed heavily fortified German positions with little more than rifles, grenades, trench mortars, and bayonets, fueled by kill-or-be-killed grit and courage under fire. With Sons of Freedom, Wawro has rewritten the history of the Allied victory in 1918, bringing the last months of the war to gory, gas-choked and blood-soaked life, along with the forgotten Americans—of all races—who fought, bled, suffered and died to win it.”
—Sean McMeekin, author of July 1914: Countdown to War
Letter from Iran, which began as my official USG trip report from Iran was made "required reading for all Marines" by the Commandant, and then published as part of a new series that aimed to make the field of Security Studies interesting. I published two others (Letter from France and Letter from South America.) They were widely read. My book Warfare and Society in Europe was required reading at West Point for many years.
The old Prussians insisted that officers go on "staff rides" to feel and breathe the terrain and atmosphere that shaped great campaigns of the past. I do the same at every opportunity, and share my enthusiasm on the Travels page.