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Justus Doenecke’s “More Precious Than Peace” Uncovers the American Experience in WWI

In April 1917, the entry of America into World War I marks one of the major turning points in the nation’s history. In the span of just nineteen months, the United States sent nearly two million troops overseas, established a robust propaganda apparatus, and created an unparalleled war machine that played a major role in securing Allied victory in the fall of 1918. At the helm of the nation, Woodrow Wilson and his administration battled against political dissidence, domestic and international controversies, and their own lack of experience leading a massive war effort.

To mark the 105th anniversary of the U.S. involvement in the war to end all wars, the University of Notre Dame Press will publish More Precious than Peace: A New History of America in World War I by military historian Justus D. Doenecke. This long-awaited successor to Doenecke’s previous book, Nothing Less than War, examines the entirety of the American experience as a full-scale belligerent in World War I. The book covers American combat on the western front, the conscription controversy, and scandals in military training and production. Doenecke explores the Wilson administration’s quest for national unity, the Creel Committee, and “patriotic” crusades. Weaving together these topics and many others, including the U.S. reaction to the Russian revolutions, Doenecke creates a lively and comprehensive narrative.

Lloyd Gardner, the author of Killing Machine, says, “More Precious than Peace will immediately become the go-to book for those new to the history of World War I as well as for specialists who need answers on specific questions. Here is political history in the grand tradition.” With similar enthusiasm, Michael Kazin, author of War Against War, says, “More Precious than Peace is one of the best books ever written about what the Great War meant for the United States, both on the battlefield and at home.”

More Precious than Peace is available in hardback from the University of Notre Dame Press on March 1, 2022. We encourage you to buy the book at your local independent bookstore either in person or online. Learn more about the author by reading our interview with Doenecke or by watching the book video on YouTube.

For more information, or for a review copy, contact Kathryn Pitts, pitts.5@nd.edu574.631.3267.

This piece originally appeared at undpressnews.nd.edu.

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