Hunter Liggett authored  these two books in 1925 (Commanding and American Army) and 1928 )A.E.F.).

Hunter Liggett authored these books in 1925 (Commanding an American Army) and 1928 (A.E.F.).

Last week I interlibrary loaned these two books by Hunter Liggett. Yes, this is the Liggett after whom the building on Governors Island is named. WW1 memoirs, or any memoirs for that matter, are notoriously self-serving. These two books work well because they are not so much personal narratives as they are accounts of American involvement in the Great War. I read the one of the left over the weekend and learned a great deal. Liggett recounts his responsibilities as the I Army Corps commander, then First Army commander, and then the III Army Corps commander during the German occupation. He does not mention Ted Roosevelt in this monograph, but I am really hoping to find evidence that General Liggett and Colonel Roosevelt knew each other personally. As an officer in the Big Red One Roosevelt would have been under Liggett’s overall command. I have a feel their paths crossed in the 1920s and 30s. We’ll see what happens.

Liggett Hall on Governors Island is named after Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett.

Liggett Hall on Governors Island is named after Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett.

I was looking at the other volume today. As its title suggests, this one is more a general overview of the A.E.F. in France. Its seven chapters were each published individually in the Saturday Evening Post. One thing he conveys well in this volume is how intertwined the American Expeditionary Force was with the British and French fighting units. Pershing tenaciously and successfully held out against what was called amalgamation. However, brigades and divisions of one Allied nation sometimes inevitably came under the commands of another country. In both books Liggett captures the immediacy of the decision-making process and explains well why many of the decisions made during the war came to be.

(lower image/National Photo Company)