By Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown
Pellissier’s diary and his letters to relations in the US convey a landscape of this ghastly struggle: from the horror of being below fireplace 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 combating within the Vosges and of the just about ritualistic shelling and restricted tactical offensives, resembling the assault at Steinbach in December 1914. His later letters have been written from the medical institution, from officer education tuition, 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 know-how that modified the character of struggle: the desktop gun, new airplanes, Uboats, more advantageous artillery, barbed cord, and poison gases.
Drama and a sympathetic human voice mix to make this account of a littlereported French entrance a worthy addition to the literature on global warfare I. no matter if traveling the battlefields of Europe, getting to know the heritage of the struggle, or sitting in an armchair at domestic, readers will locate Pellissier a competent and personable guide.
The greatnephew of Robert Pellissier and a minister through profession,
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Extra resources for A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a & M University Military History Series)
However, I would very much prefer to become again an Assistant Professor of Romance Languages. I hope that everything may be ended by December, and that I may spend Christmas with you all. There are about ﬁfty thousand men in Besançon, both infantry and cavalry, and I do believe that at the present time they are all gathered at this café, a fact which does not tend to make letter writing easy. We are now thoroughly equipped. To-morrow we take to the ﬁeld, creeping on our stomachs mostly, from one bush to another, in pursuit of imaginary Prussians, thank heaven!
Life goes on normally. People are hardened now. There is hardly a family which is not anxious about someone at the front; but the era of excitement is over. No a good idea of hell one expects quick success, but all are conﬁdent of ultimate success. I think we may move out of here in three weeks or so. They may use us as “troupes d’occupation” [occupation or garrison troops] before they send us to the front. Whatever comes along I shall take cheerfully and calmly. I have a good dose of fatalism in me which may after all be a form of faith.
They don’t seem to have suﬀered much either, at any time. I have a task ahead. A chap wants me to compose a letter, meant for a man who is fooling with his girl! He is not certain that his literary training can cope with the emergency. Besançon, October st, . To B——: Another day gone by in laziness, though not unpleasantly. , so I spent most of the morning taking my riﬂe to pieces and polishing the hilt of my bayonet. In the afternoon, we took a stroll up a hill, which commands a view of the whole town.
A Good Idea of Hell: Letters from a Chasseur a Pied (Texas a & M University Military History Series) by Leonard V. Smith, Joshua K. Brown