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The First World War existed on paper even as it was being fought. Yes, electronic communications (radio, telephone) played a role, but it was the typewriter and the pen that both recorded the war and, in many respects, made possible the massive organizations it demanded. The American soldier, right down to the lowest ranks, was often both a reader and a writer. Commands and instructions were passed to him in writing—much of his entertainment came that way, too, through books and letters, newspapers and magazines. And he responded with his own pen.


This chapter was originally published in Doughboys on the Western Front: Memories of American Soldiers in the Great War (Praeger, 2017).



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