Palmer, F. (1914) The Last Shot

lastshot_coverF. Palmer (1914) The Last Shot

Frederick Palmer (January 29, 1873 – September 2, 1958) was an American journalist and writer. 1914—The Last Shot—a novel about a fictional major European war, from the point of view of a small set of soldiers and civilians. Written before the start of World War I. [Wikipedia]

Introduction:

This story of war grew out of my experience in many wars. I have been under fire without fighting; known the comradeship of arms without bearing arms, and the hardships and the humors of the march with only an observer’s incentive. A singular career, begun by chance, was pursued to the ends of the earth in the study of the greatest drama which the earth stages. Whether watching a small force of white regulars disciplining a primitive people, or the complex tactics of huge army against huge army; whether watching war in the large or in the small, I have found the same basic human qualities in the white heat of conflict working out the same illusions, heroisms, tragedies, and comedies.

Full text at: https://archive.org/details/lastshot00sonsgoog

Review:

This story by Frederick Palmer, who for twenty years as war correspondent has known more of war than most men, is somewhat difficult to interpret. The book rings with the author’s own personal experiences. As writer of battles, sieges, victories, and defeats he is as supreme in his idealism as in the actual war which he has depicted. The first impression of the reader is that the story is artificial, and indeed continues to be. The conflicts in the story make one as disgusted with the whole irrational business of war as if reading of actual battles being fought. The defeated general could not face the disgrace, and took his own life – “The Last Shot” – giving the title to the story. The author closes with a complicated exposition of the uselessness and ruinousness of annexation of territory, of indemnities, etc. He allows the use of armaments only as an international police force, and clearly points out that the only solution is to make humanity feel such a revolt against the awful war curse that men will refuse to leave their homes, and will demand that the settlement of disputes be left to statesmen. [The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920), Vol. 76, No. 10 (NOVEMBER, 1914), p. 242]

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