Review of Letters From The Front, ed. Barry Waugh

Letters From The Front, J. Gresham Machen’s Correspondence From World War I, transcribed and edited by Barry Waugh, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2012, 342 pp.
While I appreciate Barry Waugh’s work in putting this book together (as well as I appreciate his online writings on Presbyterian history), Letters From the Front is rather boring.
Basically, J. Gresham Machen was working for the Y.M.C.A. peddling hot chocolate (and sundry other commodities) to French and American soldiers during the final year or so of World War I. These letters are largely his day-to-day summaries of his life there in France written to his mother back in the States.
While there are occasional items of interest, this is a book that I’d recommend only to the most dedicated of Machen scholars.

2 thoughts on “Review of Letters From The Front, ed. Barry Waugh”

  1. Thank you for reading Letters from the Front. Life at the front, even for a non-combattant selling hot chocolate, can be quite boring. I believe it has been said that war involves lengthy periods of boredom interrupted by short epochs of absolute terror. Even though Machen was a Y-Man and not suffering misery of in the trenches, he, too, had a few brief moments of absolute terror (at least I would have been terrified). Again, thank you for reading the book and your comments. Sincerely, Barry

    1. Good to hear from you Barry. Wayne Sparkman has told me of you. If you’ve had access to more of Machen’s letters, I’d be glad for anything you find there which has reference to Gordon Clark or his father David S. Clark. I published the Clark – Machen correspondence in “Clark and His Correspondence, Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark” but I would hope there would be references to Clark in other letters. Please email me (douglasdouma at yahoo) your physical mailing address and I will send you a copy of the Clark letters.

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