Title: 1918 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A SENSITIVE, SINCERE, POETIC YOUNG 23 YEAR OLD NEW JERSEY MAN FIGHTING GERMANY TO THE DEATH ON THE FRONT LINES
Book Condition: Good
Size: 16mo - over 5¾" - 6¾" tall
Publisher: JOBSTOWN NEW JERSEY TO THE FRONT IN FRANCE  1918
Seller ID: 0002202
"Ernest Cook is my name/America is my nation/Jobstown, NJ is dwelling place/And God is my Salvation/When I am dead and in my grave/And all my bones have rotten/This little book will tell my name/When I am long forgotten." So begins the diary on offer; a fascinating manuscript diary handwritten by a sensitive young soldier named Ernest Cook (March 3, 1895 - March, 1972), who bravely fought on the front lines for America near the end of World War I. This 5 year diary, a Christmas gift from his lady friend Alice D. Shinn (as per inscription), Makes for an interesting comparison between his life in each year - a life that changes dramatically with the conclusion of the War I. Beginning January 1918 we learn that Ernest is a 22-year-old member of 303rd Field Signal Battalion Company B in the US Army. Not yet on active duty, they are stationed near Cook's home in New Jersey and his writings reflect monotonous days of inspections, drills, evenings at the YMCA with friends and visits with family. Cook is often sent to work with the horses in the stables and is no stranger to hard labor, yet he is a sensitive young man, as indicated by multiple entries indicating his insecurity about how friends and superiors feel about him. On January 9, 1918 he writes: "Inspection…Room orderly worked hard. I got very discouraged. My only comfort at home was thinking I had a few friends". Again on Valentine's Day 1919 his sensitivity and youth shine through: "Valentines from home and Violet and May. Fatigue duty very muddy. Physical exercises. Disappointed to the core. Snyder disliked me on a pass. Had a date with Alice". While he struggles to succeed at work, he maintains a healthy interest in the opposite sex, evidenced by his description of watching "fellows loveing couple of girls in barracks next door" and his tales of juggling multiple women such as the day he received a 'funny little letter from Ms. Kirby Riverside…date with Alice and Hilda'. Things change for Ernest's Company in late February 1918 with the draft of many new men. On February 23, he describes 150 newly drafted men coming in and observes some of these new rookies as they struggle to fit in. On March 3, 1918, Ernest has his 23rd birthday, and just a week later he writes that there have been "rumours of moving". These rumours do not materialize until late May, 1918, when Ernest's company moves to Europe. On May 26, 1918, Ernest's company is called to ship out and they are on deck in "our battleship" by the afternoon of May 27. Their journey to England is treacherous. Cook describes intense sea sickness and his ship narrowly avoiding a torpedo strike. He finally arrives in England on June 8 after "sailing the Irish Sea" and here begins the most fascinating part of this diary - not just Cook's riveting tales of war, but also the contrast of Ernest Cook, soldier and Ernest Cook, 23-year-old young man. His entries swing dramatically from militaristic on June 21st: "Took office over from the British. Had many an argument with the Townies and don't like them" to youthful on June 25th when he went "To visit a French Madammoisella". Cook's summer of 1918 is a melting pot of air raids and parties. Fighting and fun. As summer winds down Cook experiences his first major loss, with the death of company member Leland S. Clancy on August 19, 1918. He writes, "lost L. Clancy by drowning. Very sad". He doesn't have very much time to process this loss as his company is moved out of England to France at the end of August. His company slowly makes its way to the front lines. On September 13 the horror of war creeps into his entry: "Thousands of [prisoners?] coming in. We hike all night to try and keep up to Infantry. Heavy firing. First real sight of death of war dead men and horses". Between September 19-October 2, 1918 he is on the front lines of the war and does not write anything. We find out later that is company loses many men and he is given increasing responsibility. Finally, on October 3rd, they are moved out of the line of fire and his writing resumes. His entry on October 3rd is simple: "Back to company moved out of the lines. Hiked all night and Hopkins lost my pack. The horse died on the road". In early November there are a pair of entries that exemplify the spirit of Ernest Cook: Nov 3 "Austrians lay down their guns", Nov 4 "Howie tied my pajamas all up in knots". Cook is in Blois, France when the war ends. On November 11, 1918 he writes with enthusiasm that "the Armistice signed. Howie Mac and I out in big parade everybody going wild….walked until I couldn't stand". The enthusiasm is short-lived as Cook and his company are stuck in France, cold in the barracks until January 14th when they are finally given a ship to return home. Once again, Cook writes about debilitating sea sickness. Finally, on January 22, 1919, Cook "Saw the lights of dear old N.Y. about 6pm and oh boy the cheers. I clinked to a life where I could see the dear old country and not be bothered". Then, the next day: "Mayor out to meet us. Pulled in docks at 12 noon, unloaded 2pm. All organizations welcomed us with eats such was great. Teleg. Mother. Up on ferry then a train to Merritt". The rest of the diary, which Cook maintains until April 15, 1919, details a post-war life of job offers, work in Lewiston, and lots and lots of new women to date! While Cook ends his diary in the spring of 1919 there is I entry he has dated 1920 that gives us the sense that he is happy in his new, post-war life. This diary is a tribute to the boys and men who fought in World War I for America. It is an in-depth look at the life of a soldier, both on the battlefield and off. Historians and researchers of World War I personal accounts will delight in Ernest's frank, practical account of experiencing the atrocities of war and the sharing of emotional expressions on how he is affected as he comes of age. Overall G+.
KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, ERNEST COOK, JOBSTOWN, NEW JERSEY, WORLD WAR I, 303RD FIELD SIGNAL BATTALION COMPANY B, US ARMY, ALICE D. SHINN, WWI, WORLD WAR I, WW1, WORLD WAR ONE, THE GREAT WAR, US SOLDIERS, MEN'S STUDIES, GENDER STUDIES, THE WAR TO END ALL WARS, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, AUTOGRAPHED, AUTHORS, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, KEEPSAKE, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, PERSONAL HISTORY, ARCHIVE, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNAL, LOG, PRIMARY SOURCE, FIRST HAND ACCOUNT, SOCIAL HISTORY, PERSONAL STORIES, LIVING HISTORY, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL,BIOGRAPHY BIOGRAPHICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY PERSONAL NARRATIVES