"Over the Top", Volume 10

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G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1917 - English language - 315 pages
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Excerpt: ...of the trench. One dead German was lying on his back, with a rifle sticking straight up in the air, the bayonet of which was buried to the hilt in his chest. Across his feet lay a dead English soldier with a bullet hole in his forehead. This Tommy must have been killed just as he ran his bayonet through the German. Rifles and equipment were scattered about, and occasionally a steel helmet could be seen sticking out of the mud. At one point, just in the entrance to a communication trench, was a stretcher. On this stretcher a German was lying with a white bandage around his knee, near to him lay one of the stretcher-bearers, the red cross on his arm covered with mud and his helmet filled with blood and brains. Close by, sitting up against the wall of the trench, with head resting on his chest, was the other stretcher-bearer. He seemed to be alive, the posture was so natural and easy, but when I got closer, I could see a large, jagged hole in, his temple. The three must have been killed by the same shell-burst. The dugouts were all smashed in and knocked about, big square-cut timbers splintered into bits, walls caved in, and entrances choked. Tommy, after taking a trench, learns to his sorrow, that the hardest part of the work is to hold it. In our case this proved to be so. The German artillery and machine guns had us taped (ranged) for fair; it was worth your life to expose yourself an instant. Don't think for a minute that the Germans were the only sufferers, we were clicking casualties so fast that you needed an adding machine to keep track of them. Did you ever see one of the steam shovels at work on the Panama Canal, well, it would look like a hen scratching alongside of a Tommy "digging in" while under fire, you couldn't see daylight through the clouds of dirt from his shovel. After losing three out of six men of our crew, we managed to set up our machine gun. One of the legs of the tripod was resting on the chest of a half-buried body. When...
 

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User Review  - MrsLee - LibraryThing

Arthur Guy Empey was frustrated by America's long delay in entering the fray of what became known as The Great War, or as we now know it, WWI. He went to England and enlisted on his own. This is his ... Read full review

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User Review  - enos1 - LibraryThing

I read this book at camp. It was great to go through the war with him while my son is serving in Afghanistan. I highly recommend this novel. It has a lot of great details of everyday life and the many battles he fought. A harsh reality of the war. Read full review

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Page 29 - Takf me over the sea where the Allemand can't get at me. Oh, God, I dont want to die! I want to go home.
Page 221 - I want to go home, I want to go home, I don't want to go in the trenches no more, Where whizz-bangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar.
Page 62 - Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag, And smile, smile, smile, While you've a lucifer to light your fag, Smile, boys, that's the style.
Page 269 - In a polite but bored tone I answered, •A rifle bullet.' With a look of disdain she passed to the next bed, first ejaculating, 'Oh! only a bullet? I thought It was a shell.' Why she should think a shell wound was more of a distinction beats me." Almost his closing words are: "War is not a pink tea, but In a worth while cause like ours, mud, rats, cooties, shells, wounds, or death itself are far outweighed by the deep sense of satisfaction felt by the man who does his bit.
Page 73 - ... who was a slacker and a coward, but who, in the last moments of his poor, weak life, retrieved himself so valiantly and with such an exaltation of heroism that none who have read his story can ever forget it. The account of the actual Over the Top is likewise a remarkable bit of graphic writing. " I knew I was running but could feel no motion below the waist. Patches on the ground seemed to float to the rear as if I were on a treadmill and scenery was rushing past me "—and so on : it is all...
Page 230 - The sentence of the court had been "duly carried out." The Captain slowly raised the limp form drooping over the gun, and, wiping the blood from the white face, recognized it as Lloyd, the coward of "D" Company. Reverently covering the face with his handkerchief, he turned to his "non-coms," and in a voice husky with emotion, addressed them: "Boys, it's Lloyd the deserter. He has redeemed himself, died the death of a hero. Died that his mates might live.
Page 195 - We beat you at the Marne, and we beat you at the Aisne ; We gave you Hell at Neuve Chapelle, and here we are again.
Page 216 - ... forms of trees; crawling on his hands and knees, stopping and crouching with fear at each shell-burst, he finally reached an old orchard, and cowered at the base of a shot-scarred apple-tree. He remained there all night, listening to the sound of the guns and ever praying, praying that his useless life would be spared. As dawn began to break, he could discern little dark objects protruding from the ground all about him. Curiosity mastered his fear and he crawled to one of the objects, and there,...
Page 269 - ... the best of luck," the Jonah phrase of the trenches, used whenever a man goes "over the top" or Into extra hazardous duty; "gone west," to have been killed. From a book all so quotable it Is difficult to choose, so I will content myself with this bit from his hospital experience: "Some kindly looking old lady will stop at your bed and in a sympathetic voice address you, 'You poor boy, wounded by those terrible Germans. You must be suffering frightful pain. A bullet, did you say? Well, tell me,...
Page 213 - God's sake, brace up and be a man. I think you have the stuff in you, my boy, so goodbye, and the best of luck to you." The next day the battalion took over their part of the trenches. It happened to be a very quiet day. The artillery behind the lines was still, except for an occasional shell sent over to let the Germans know the gunners were not asleep.

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