Smithsonian Magazine - - Discussion -

“THE END OF THE LINE ,” Wil­liam T. Voll­mann’s epic nar­ra­tive mark­ing the cen­ten­nial of the ar­mistice end­ing World War I drew an epic re­sponse from read­ers. “It only took a hand­ful of cov­etous men to start, yet many mil­lions suf­fered and died—only to be re­peated two decades later,” Luke Speckman wrote on Face­book. “One of the most sense­less, un­nec­es­sary wars in his­tory,” Bryan Estell said. “Mil­lions died for noth­ing.” Though some read­ers mis­took Voll­mann’s dark asides on the fu­til­ity of war as flip­pancy, most had noth­ing but praise. “I was awestruck,” wrote Fred Fehlauer of Pen­sacola, Florida. “He evokes a very per­sonal mem­ory of what it meant to be a par­tic­i­pant in this hor­ren­dous cam­paign, and what that means to us to­day.” As Mer­rie Sims Long­bot­tom of Ari­zona put it: “The piece was a plea­sure to read, in spite of the dread­ful re­minders of the costs of war.”

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