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Potomac Books


Through the Wheat, Through the Wheat, 0803261683, 0-8032-6168-3, 978-0-8032-6168-6, 9780803261686, Thomas Boyd Introduction by Edwin Howard Simmons

Through the Wheat
A Novel of the World War I Marines
Thomas Boyd
Introduction by Edwin Howard Simmons

2000. 266 pp.
$14.95 s

Fresh out of a Defiance, Ohio, high school, Thomas Boyd (1898–1935) joined the Marines to serve his country in the patriotic heat of the spring of 1917. In 1919 he came home from the war with a Croix de Guerre and a desire to write. He joined the St. Paul News as a journalist and opened a bookstore, whose patrons included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis. Through the Wheat appeared to immediate acclaim, with F. Scott Fitzgerald calling it "a work of art" and "arresting." Boyd wrote five other works before he died in Vermont of a cerebral hemorrhage at age thirty-seven.

Introducing this Bison Books edition is Edwin Howard Simmons, a retired brigadier general in the United States Marine Corps and the author of The United States Marines: A History.

"Through the Wheat records the experiences of William Hicks of the marines, who never distinguished himself, but who never flinched. . . . The effect of attack after attack, numberless tragedies day after day, unceasing danger, was to deaden his senses completely. His companions concluded, not without reason, that he was mad. He wandered about under fire with perfect composure—not because he was more brave than his fellows, but because he was psychologically dead. . . . Thomas Boyd [has written] the least partisan and the most brilliant of doughboy reminiscences."—New York Times

"A remarkable first novel."—The Nation

"Published by Scribner in 1923, Boyd's novel of U. S. Marines in World War I received high praise for its authenticity. It follows William Hacks, an average soldier who slowly loses his sanity as the war progresses. His seeming bravery under fires gains him the admiration of his fellows, but his composure in fact results from his emotional anesthetization from battle."—Library Journal

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