The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War Book Review

This coming Saturday is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI. It was supposed to be the war that ends all wars and supposed to last only a few months. Instead it last 4 years, killed 9 million soldiers and forever changed the history of the world as we know it.

David Laskin’s 2011, memoir, The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War, chronicles a dozen men, all immigrants from the turn of the 20th century who fought for the Allies in WWI.  The men, whose stories were told represent a vast array of immigrants who sought freedom and shelter in America: Slovaks, Poles, Jews, Irish, Italians and Scandinavians.  These men were not seeking to join the military, they were often escaping required military conscription from the governments whose lands they had left. But they still joined the army, some gave the ultimate sacrifice for their new country.

I loved this book. David Laskin, as he did with The Family , tells the stories of these men as if they were fictional characters, not real human beings. Each man is brought back to life in full color. The details are vivid and rich.  The horrors of WWI are as graphic as any movie camera could reproduce.

I recommend this book.

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