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The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War
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The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews

“Not since Flags of Our Fathers—no, make that, Not since Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory—no, make that, Not ever—has an American nonfiction writer reached into history and produced a testament of young men in terrible battle with the stateliness, the mastery of cadence, the truthfulness and the muted heartbreak of James Carl Nelson in The Remains of Company

Audio CD, 11 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2009)
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is how I imagined it all started. He was a journalist. Words being his profession, he read a lot of books. Readers like him (or us) at one point in their lives wonder if they can write well enough and lengthy enough to have a book published carrying their names as proud authors. The first problem, however, is what to write about. So he looked around him. There were his grandfather's few war memorabilia. His dead grandfather who had lived to more than a hundred, taciturn, seldom smiled, or t ...more
Rob Maynard
Dec 01, 2010 Rob Maynard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've looked for a good World War I book for many years. Most were so dense or tedious that I gave up, relying more on poetry or novels to get a sense of that horrific time. James Carl Nelson gets to the heart of the American place in the war with this book, written as an homage to his late Grandpa, who was badly wounded in the wheat fields alongside the Paris-Soissons Road outside of Cantigny in June of 1918. James Nelson follows up on the AEF Company D infantry batallion that reflected in its d ...more
I finished this book 10 minutes ago and found it to be not only an account of the author's odyssey to learn more about his grandfather's service in the First World War with Company D of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division, but also a poignant and thoughtful portrait (through excerpts from letters) of several members of Company D who distinguished themselves in combat from Cantigny to the Argonne.

This book also offers a sobering insight on America's role in a long ago war whose relevance is lost on m
Dave Hoff
Mar 12, 2013 Dave Hoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an Infantry Company did in the "Great War" The author's grandfather lay almost dead in a wheat field in France, Oct. 1918, but lived with pains & haunts into his 90s. Find myself thinking will a grandchild, or great-grandchild of my father read the letters from France and then construct such a book about a horrible war (aren't they all) and my father's good fortune to sail for France as the war wound down. What research for the author's passion.
This is a book written by the grandson of a soldier that served in Company D, 28th Regiment, 1st Division during World War 1 (yes, 1 not 2). The book looks at the lives of those who served, and many who died, during their time in action. It is a great read, and a good way to gain a new perspective on the literal hell that they went through.
Janet Goodrich
May 06, 2010 Janet Goodrich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly moving book of The First World War. I love history but often find history books too academic/dry. This book tells the story of what happened to real soldiers during the war.

I can't recommend it too highly.
Jacqueline Elsner
Liked this book a lot. I listened to it on audiobook, which added to the momentum and emotional impact. I take my hat off to the author.for his research, as an act of love to his WWI veteran grandfather.
Oct 08, 2011 Sunny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bring WWI up-close and very personal. What a terrific tribute to one's grandfather.

Updated review on my review/blog at:
Joe Kupsky
May 26, 2014 Joe Kupsky is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This has proven to be a frustrating book. Although a frequently used strategy for amateur historians and family history writers, the author relies on scant family stories and research to build a narrative of three slices of WWI. The writing itself is OK, though largely comprised of a string of historical facts and poorly explained references. But by chapter 3 I was completely worn down by the cynicism of war. The author goes over board in my opinion about the uselessness, futility, crassness, ri ...more
Dec 13, 2009 Kayeb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that I don't think is meant to be enjoyed per se...and I didnt finish it. However, the story/history of this company d as the author researched it is quite compelling. Without ever being able to know some of the reality, he has still recreated a plausible story of war in the trenches. He takes time to describe the landscape, and is artistic and chilling in the ways he sets a scene of war and young men, blood and face to face death for in some cases a matter of inches.. ...more
Dave Wallace
Dec 21, 2015 Dave Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine narrative of a quickly dying company, Cantigny, Soissons (where it's soul was cut out), Meuse-Argonne all in short order. Better than 4 stars and well written but I can't put my finger on why it didn't grab me enough to be a 5 star book. Not a first person account may be why, it leads to a lot of speculation (although not hidden as fact) by the author. There was a lot of research included here to dig up (mainly letters) of first person accounts that were woven into the story. Probably wha ...more
May 24, 2010 Topher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was also tempted to choose "post-apocalyptic" as a shelf for this one too. This is a WW I equivalent to "The Things They Carried". It tracks the fate of Company D of the 28th Bn (part of the "Big Red One" - which I somehow missed for the first 275 or so pages) through three different campaigns in WW I. There was incredibly high mortality rates associated with these missions. In some ways, this seems to almost be the war in which the individual suffers the most. Prior to this, automation has no ...more
Aug 03, 2016 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There was a certain fascination in hearing the author's steps in putting this story together from a combination of public and original sources. And at the close, the agonies of the loved ones left behind without knowledge of what had happened to their particular doughboy in his final moments, or indeed what had become of their remains. I had just finished watching a documentary in a few parts about how the "Great War" kicked off a century that has still not fully seen the resolve of what came ou ...more
Laura LeAnn
Jun 30, 2012 Laura LeAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thesis, non-fiction
Excellent book about Company D, 28th Infantry. My great-grandfather served in this unit (though he is not discussed in the book because his injury came so early in the war, and there is some confusion about which unit he was really in in the military rosters/rolls) and I found this book to be an excellent resource in understanding his experiences during that horrific time, even if he was only with the unit until February 1918. He was injured and in a hospital by February and then returned to the ...more
Sep 29, 2012 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good account of Company D, 28th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division in World War I. The author makes good use of resources and actually tells the story quite well, but his determination to constantly write to images of the war with such sadness grew to be quite tedious (that road, that field, that hilltop over and over again. OK, I got it). That being said, this is ultimately a fine narrative and a tribute to the grandfather who seldom, if ever, spoke of his experiences in t ...more
Matthew Dambro
Jan 11, 2016 Matthew Dambro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story of a grandson trying to make sense of his grandfather's world. The Great War plays a major role in the story but it also about family and love and doubt. The other comrades of Company D give an overview of an entire generation. They marched off to war firmly convinced that God and history was on their side. No generation since has gone to the sacrificial altar with as much enthusiasm or simple belief in the rightness of their cause. I can highly recommend it as a snapshot of the ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-1
The author's grandfather was nearly killed on a road during World War 1. The grandfather never speaks about what happened. Haunted by his ancestor's experience, Nelson pieces together the stories of his grandfather and colleagues as they faced a horrific struggle. The limits of human endurance are explored in this book.
Sep 11, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ww1
A really enlightening and unusual read. the author does a remarkable job of tracking down all the men in his grandfather's infantry unit from the Great War and finds out everything he can about them. If we could do this for every man in that combat and go on to cover the innocent bystanders, we might have a shot at seeing the terrifying scope of this war.
Jerry Teipen
Dec 03, 2013 Jerry Teipen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1
One of the best detailed accounts of troops in front line WW1. Interestingly, a number of the soldiers in the account trained at Fort Benjamin Harrison. That local tie along with some background on the Co Hunter Liggett made this a little closer to home. A great and tragic tale.
Quinn Wright
Oct 08, 2012 Quinn Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kind of hard to hold onto the narative the whole way through, but exactly the kind of insight into different individuals and their experiance of this rediculous war. realy captures how awefull this war was
Mar 15, 2015 Benjamin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Great research by Nelson, but honestly i did not care for his style at all. Learned a little but did not feel any connection for the men who performed these amazing actions. For that I have to blame Nelson.
Dec 03, 2009 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
History written by a journalist. Sometimes that can bring flare to an otherwise boring story, but not in this case. I should've known better when I saw a bookjacket blurb by the guy who wrote Flags of Our Fathers...
Patricrk patrick
Apr 16, 2010 Patricrk patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
gives a good feel what it was like as a dough-boy in the trenches. The hunger, thirst, gas and machine guns. With the all so casual loss of life.
Jul 11, 2015 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a terrible book, but it promised you a story about a World War One soldier and gives you the story of how a man found out about that story.
David Champ
Sep 15, 2015 David Champ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good account of what happened to the induvudysks that made up Compant D during WWI So often we read or learn the facts without realizing the cost. This book helps put a face on the war.
Feb 08, 2014 Dimmy-jimmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
awesome book,this war has always fascinated me ,I guess it was the unbelievable heroism of all the soldiers who fought it.
Carl  Palmateer
The story got bogged down but I slogged on. Unlike the mud that held the doughboys the book did not hold me. The elements are there but the story just doesn't seem to deliver.
Will Albers
Jul 12, 2011 Will Albers rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
wish you could give half stars as I'd rate this a 3.5. difficult to find good writing on WW1 and this is an interesting account of a small group of soldiers in what was truly a horrifying war.
Tyler Hartford
Well done historical account - for what he had to work with. At times it got tedious, but there were moments when the immense cost and turmoil of WWI shone through.
Heather Schmitt
Jun 13, 2014 Heather Schmitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't write a review any better than the one goodreads has listed! What a tribute to his grandfather,who was in Company D in World War I.
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Film Time for Book 1 3 Mar 15, 2013 07:50AM  
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