Mackin's memoirs are a haunting portrayal of war in the tradition of All Quiet on the Western Front.
As a recent enlistee, Mackin (1898-1974) joined the 5th Marines in June, 1918, during the battle of Belleau Wood. He served with the regiment until the Armistice as a rifleman and then as a runner--a job with a life expectancy usually measured in hours. Mackin's memoir, supplemented by interviews taped in the 1970s, covers six months of action. In direct and simple prose, his taut, immediate account details a time when, with air support and field radios far in the future, machine guns and barbed wire still dominated the battlefield. In overcoming these obstacles virtually unaided, the courage and initiative of such front-line soldiers as Mackin and his comrades were tested to their limits and never found wanting. This immediate, eloquent report, meriting comparison with Thomas Boyd's Marine Corps classic Through the Wheat (1923), belongs in all collections on U.S. participation in WW I.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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October 31, 1993
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