Wednesday, September 13, 2017

World War I on the Homefront with Eisenhower: At Ease chapter 10


For twentieth century history in eighth grade (Level 4 history program at Mater Amabilis™), First Son is reading a chapter from At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends by Dwight D. Eisenhower. "Camp Meade, Camp Colt: Training for the Invisible War," chapter X in the book, describes Eisenhower's experiences in creating, organizing, governing, and dismantling a training camp for the newly created Tank Corps during World War I. I chose to include a bit of this book in our studies because Eisenhower is a native Kansan but it's worth the time of non-Kansans as well.

Eisenhower missed out on World War I. The Army assigned him one job after another and he performed them each competently and diligently, so much so they apparently couldn't spare him. He was scheduled to ship overseas in November 1918 but the Armistice came first.
Whenever I had convinced myself that my superiors, through bureaucratic oversights and insistence on tradition, had doomed me to run-of-the-mill assignments, I found no better cure than to blow off steam in private and then settle down to the job at hand.
The style is humorously self-deprecating.
I could see myself, years later, silent at class reunions while others reminisced of battle. For a man who likes to talk as much as I, that would have been intolerable punishment.
This chapter shows what camp life was like, some of the difficulties training camps had, and the prompt actions of camp surgeons which probably saved many lives when influenza appeared in the camp.

Throughout the chapter, Eisenhower names man after man who served faithfully and well, honoring their work and speaking always respectfully. There are a few men who misstepped, but those are not named.

I haven't had time to read the entire book, but from this chapter I think there could be a lot of value in adding it to the Level 4 history study. I think First Son will get away with just this chapter, but when it's First Daughter's turn, I may try to find  away to include it. I've placed this assignment after the second chapter of The Century for Young People in the first term but it would obviously also work while studying World War I.

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