Journalist Claire Kenamore compiled the book from notes and newspaper articles he wrote while following the 35th Division across France during WWI. Back in St. Louis, it was published by Guard Publishing in 1919.
The Klincksieck bookstore in Paris obtained a copy. Klincksieck, founded in 1842, was a German bookstore that also published and printed books at 11, rue de Lille, Paris. Éditions Klincksieck are still in business at 95, boulevard Raspail, 6th arrondissement.
Sometime later, Klincksieck’s copy went to the French national library. The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is the equivalent of the US Library of Congress.
I took a break from editing A Very Muddy Place today and went to the BnF. From Vauquois Hill to Exermont is not in the stacks. It’s kept in the “magasin” (library storage), because it’s, either, too valuable or not often referenced. I think the latter. I had to request it and wait forty-five minutes for it to be retrieved from its quiet place.
Since I quote from it often, I wanted to hold it my hands, read a few passages, give the book some love.
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A Very Muddy Place
An intimate account of a soldier’s experience in World War I, A Very Muddy Place takes us on a journey from a young man’s rural American hometown onto one of the great battlefields of France. We follow Private B. F. Potts with the 137th US Infantry Regiment through the first days of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. We discover a personal story—touching, emotional, unforgettable.
In 1918, twenty-three-year-old Bennie Potts was drafted into the US Army to fight in the World War. He served with the American Expeditionary Force in France. At home after the war, he married and raised a family, and the war for his children and grandchildren became the anecdotes he told them.
A century later, a great grandson brings together his ancestor’s war stories and the historical record to follow Private Benjamin Franklin Potts from Tennessee to the Great War in France and back home again.
Available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.
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