April 6, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War One—a war in which millions of Americans fought and more than 50,000 died in combat. In The Last of the Doughboys, author Richard Rubin introduced listeners to this largely forgotten generation of Americans. Rubins interviewed the war’s last survivors face-to-face and knew well the importance of being present if you want to get the real story. But he soon came to realize that to get the whole story, he had to go Over There, too. So he did… and discovered that while most Americans regard that war as dead and gone, to the French, who still live among its ruins and memories, WWI remains very much alive.
Years later, Rubin decided to go back Over There to follow the trail of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front, finding trenches, tunnels, bunkers, century-old graffiti and ubiquitous artifacts. But what he wasn’t expecting to find was an abiding fondness for America and Americans, and a colorful corps of local after-hours historians and archeologists who tirelessly explore these sites and preserve the memories they embody while patiently waiting for Americans to return and reclaim their own history and heritage.
Based on his wildly popular New York Times series, Richard Rubins’ Back Over There audiobook is a timely journey, in turns reverent and iconoclastic but always fascinating, through a place where the past and present are never really separated. Listen to an excerpt of the Back Over There audiobook, read for you by the author: