The Best Sources & Questioning MacArthur’s Reputation

According to Robert H. Ferrell in his book The Question of MacArthur’s Reputation, the best sources for material on the 168th Infantry, out of Iowa, are:

For the 168th Iowa the best source is Taber, Story of the 168th Infantry. It needs comparison with the ABMC file, RG 117; 42nd Division: Summary of operations in the World War; and Major Ross’s diary.”

Unfortunately, Taber’s book, although long out of print and no longer under copyright protection, has yet to be added to any collection of online libraries, whether Google Books or . I have been unable to find a copy locally, so I will probably have to find one via interlibrary loan.

Major Ross is Lloyd D. Ross of the 168th. He was from Red Oak, Iowa and eventually became a front-line commander in the last few months of the war.

The papers of Major Ross are . . . principally a huge dairy for his service in 1917-1919.”

His granddaughter Martha Braley still has the diary.

ABMC is the American Battle Monuments Commission. The records are at the National Archives, split between two sites — College Park, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Although I thought 117 might refer to the various support units of the 42nd Division, such as the 117th Sanitary Train or the 117th Field Hospital, the number just happens to be the one chosen for all ABMC  records. RG 117 is shorthand for Record Group 117.

I am looking for a copy of the official ‘summary of operations’ but have not been successful, either online or using Worldcat.

Oddly the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia has another group of records with the designation RG 117, those of Colonel A. M. Neilson, relating to World War II.

Regarding MacArthur at Châtillon, Ferrell’s book challenges the general’s account, highlighting the men around him as the true heroes.

Ferrell has completed a chapter in the history of World War I that has stood unfinished for years, showing in masterly fashion how MacArthur exaggerated his reputation at Châtillon. The Question of MacArthur’s Reputation will reward historians seeking to fill gaps in the record, engage readers who enjoy descriptions of battle, and startle all who take their heroes for granted.”


Feminism & History

Here’s a peculiar little site and blog. It’s called ‘Historiann’ and run by Ann M. Little, author of Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England. She’s a professor at Colorado State University. I am not really big on these ‘gender’ and ‘women’s’ programs.

I am a colonial American historian with research interests in borderlands history, women’s and gender history, and the history of the body. . . . I am beginning to research a third book about the body in early America.”

She represents the best and, mostly, worst of the modern historian and revisionist psychology so typical of the garbage being churned out of academia today. In her ‘Cloistered Bodies’ piece about nuns she

argues that convents served as a convenient metaphor . . . in the mid-eighteenth century English and Anglo-American imagination: They were French, Catholic, feminized, and most disturbingly, closed to Protestant men. In describing French Canada and its convents, they used language that suggests their fascination with opening and penetrating this new addition to the empire, despite the fact that the Quebec Ursulines were in fact very open to visitors, even to Protestant men.”

Esther Wheelwright, a mother superior, appears to be one of her mentors. She was an Ursuline.

Gotta love feminism run amuck.


Joyce Kilmer’s ‘Trees and Other Poems’

On the back flap of the dust jacket for Joyce Kilmer’s Trees and Other Poems, a 1989 reprint by a publisher in Georgia, there’s some interesting biographical and historical tidbits.

Kilmer was a student at Rutgers, where later one of my great uncles was a professor and researcher, before transferring to Columbia. He helped work on the Standard Dictionary for a few years while writing for The Churchman, an Episcopal magazine, and The New York Times Review of Books and Magazine.

Kilmer was very religious. It’s the focus of some of his work. Then World War I interrupted his career.

In April 1917, after refusing to train as an officer, he enlisted in the 165th Infantry. Involved in the second Battle of the Marne, he was killed in an attack on the hills above the Ourcq River . . .”

He was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Kilmer became a symbol of poetic idealism destroyed by war.”


‘Chaos Theory’

So a friend of mine has a theory. What type or kind of theory I am not sure how to classify. Let’s just say it’s familial. He calls it ‘chaos theory’ and explained it somewhat when I visited the family homestead a week ago or so. (It really hasn’t much if anything to do with the mathematical theory.)

We may have had the house to ourselves. I am not sure. It sure seemed that way. My Friend gave me a sort of impromptu tour of the kitchen, a sort of show-and-tell, while explaining the ‘situation’ created by the theory.

He casually pointed out a slice of lime sitting very near the edge of a countertop. The lime wedge had clearly been juiced onto something, squeezed quite effectively, and there wasn’t much left of it in my view. Why it wasn’t discarded into the food scraps bucket or into the garbage neither of us could surmise. Was someone saving it for later?

Then he proceeded to share how this was a commonplace feature in the house. Items, including food, left haphazardly throughout the place. It seems to be especially the case in the dining area. I think there was some bowl of something. What it was I can’t remember, perhaps oatmeal. Spoons and spatulas and creations. Like a mad scientist in a lab. Except these were experimenting or merely hungry cooks and chefs.

My friend was animated, but not agitated, although you could sense his restrained frustration and a sad resignation to the status quo. I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. It was a curious exercise in Sherlockian logic, attempting to decipher the scene of earlier, past events. Fortunately we weren’t trying to solve a crime, at least not a major one. Deducing what our suspects were up to before vanishing was probably a complete waste of time. (But it was fun conjecturing.) This ‘crime’ was merely one of annoyance. Chaos theory in full force.

Since our little demonstration and discussion I’ve found other instances of chaos theory. Recently a thrift store employee in Idaho sold a manager’s laptop (NFS) for 5 bucks. Of course my own family is a prime example, although my father is a control freak, so my parents’ house is an example of law and order, not chaos theory. (I am long gone, which may help to explain part of this.) My mother is not naturally orderly, so it has taken some training by dad. (Years of it, by the way. His teaching methods are usually Cro-Magnon at best.)

Such is the nature of the laws that govern the universe. A lot of this can be explained by personality and personality types. I have been studying some of these basic laws, such as the law of entropy (basically that things break down over time). This law sometimes comes up in evolution versus creation debates.

So the battle rages on.


Lancelyn Green’s ‘Myths of the Norsemen’

Besides the many World War I books I am reading, I also have one of the Inklings’ books, Myths of the Norsemen. Roger Lancelyn Green is the author. I have written about him before. Knowing nothing about him, I stumbled delightfully across his work one day. I wanted to note it here so I don’t forget about this wonderful quote by William Morris:

This is the great story of the North, which should be to all our race what the Tale of Troy was to the Greeks.”

I’ll be writing more about this book later. Another author, H. A. Guerber, has a book of the same name.


Are you being chased by aliens?

You may want to talk with this man from Bosnia. Or if you live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, you might want to run down the man who declares himself God, lives in a small RV packed too tightly, eats regularly at Izzy’s using the senior discount, writes messages with black Sharpies and tapes these to the RV exterior, thinks Obama is the Anti-Christ, and has, in his own words, been an “UFO contactee for more than 35 years.”

He often hangs out at the northeast Salem Wal-Mart and the nearby fastfood joints such as McDonald’s and Burger King. A friend of mine, sort of on a dare, told me to go and talk with him. So I did. This was a few years ago. Then he eventually called in to The Bill Post Radio Show on 1430 KYKN. Bill was a bit perplexed by the man, as he claimed to be God, etc, etc. Without giving any background it was difficult for people to follow. And the concept isn’t very common. Not many people go around claiming to be the Almighty.


Kilmer’s Mother

Here’s another Kilmer poem to my liking. It describes his relationship with his mother. The University of Virginia has a collection of his poems as published in a book which apparently included memories of him written by her.

To My Mother on Her Birthday, 1914

Gentlest of critics, does your memory hold
(I know it does) a record of the days
When I, a schoolboy, earned your generous praise
For halting verse and stories crudely told?

Over those boyish scrawls the years have rolled,
They might not bear the world’s unfriendly gaze,
But still your smile shines down familiar ways,
Touches my words and turns their dross to gold.

Dearer to-day than in that happy time,
Comes your high praise to make me proud and strong.
In my poor notes you hear Love’s splendid chime
So unto you does this, my work belong.
Take, then, this little book of fragile rhyme;
Your heart will change it to authentic song.