WSJ: ‘The Unknowns’ Review: Fallen Sons, Unforgotten

The Unknowns Book Cover

Military historian and Breitbart News contributor Patrick K. O’Donnell is the author of the new book, The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home.

In this Wall Street Journal book review, the Journal hails The Unknowns as a “fascinating history” that “prods our consciences to heap fresh honor upon the Unknown Soldier of WWI, renewing his station as the mortal embodiment of every American who has fallen on a battlefield far from home.”

“With exhaustive research and fluid prose, Mr. O’Donnell relates both the history of the Unknown Soldier and the story of America’s part in World War I through these soldiers’ experiences,” writes Matthew J. Davenport.

From the Journal

In a grand ceremony on Nov. 11, 1920, an unknown French soldier from World War I was buried beneath the Arc de Triomphe. That same day, the British entombed their own unknown soldier with similar honors in Westminster Abbey.

Other European nations followed, but the United States, having lost 116,516 doughboys in 19 months of fighting—and with more than 2,000 unidentified Americans still buried in France—had no plans for the same.

It was not until the next month that Hamilton Fish, a New York congressman who had served in combat on the Western Front, introduced a bill providing for the repatriation of “a body of an unknown American killed on the battlefields of France, and for burial of the remains with appropriate ceremonies.” Congress passed Fish’s Public Resolution 67, and on his last day in office President Woodrow Wilson signed it.

How that decision led to the selection of one American soldier, an interment ceremony in Washington, D.C., commensurate to a state funeral, and ultimately to the honor the nation bestows upon the present-day Tomb of the Unknowns, is the fascinating history that Patrick K. O’Donnell explores in “The Unknowns.”

Read the rest here.

 

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