By Christopher Miskimon
Within seconds of moving into the attack at the Battle of Saint Mihiel in September 1918 Chris Emmett watched a man die. The artillery barrage had just lifted from in front of them, a walking barrage which soon resumed two hundred feet away. Looking to his left, Emmett saw a young American soldier stand up, his rifle held in his left hand. Before he could take a step, the rifle fell from his grasp, the soldier bent forward just slightly, and then he fell over onto his face, killed by a machine gun bullet. It was only the beginning.
This memoir is an engaging account of Chris Emmett’s experience in World War I. Emmett joined the war effort in 1917 and was part of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front. He served as a non-commissioned officer in L Company, 359th Infantry, 90th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces.
Emmett wrote this account of his experiences after he was discharged from the U.S. Army. He did not intend it at the time for public consumption. The book is a bluntly honest record of what Emmett saw in the war. He chronicles the brutality of war for later generations that knew nothing of such horrors, describing a world in which men were not given proper medical attention when needed, officers were promoted without merit, and fighting in trenches that offered little protection. It is a memorial to the friends he lost and a reminder of World War I’s peculiar horror.
Give Way to the Right: Serving with the A.E.F. in France during the Great War (Chris Emmett, author, David Scott Stieghan, editor, University of North Georgia University Press, Dahlonega GA, 2021, 299 pp., photographs, appendix, bibliography, $24.95, softcover)