Whispers in the Wind
AUTHOR: Eisenstein, Douglas R.
PUBLISHER: Xlibris Corporation
Also available at Amazon.com
This is a non-fiction work describing the first-hand World War One experiences of two men. The book begins at boot camp proceeds to the war on the Western Front and on to the return home. Both men belonged to the 307th Regiment of the 77TH Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.). This Division was mainly composed of men from New York City. It left the American shores on April 6, 1918 and returned on April 28, 1919.
This manuscript is the result of a series of events. To begin with, a friend of mine, the jazz musician Paul Horn, came across the WW I diaries of his deceased father, Jack L. Horn, while going through some old memorabilia. These were in three handwritten volumes that were barely legible. They had been written under extreme duress with a fountain pen often in the rain and mud. The diaries were hard to read or appreciate in that form so I had them painstakingly transcribed over a one-year period. As each page was typed I proceeded to footnote and research all references made to people, places and events.
It had been my original intent to publish the work at this stage of its evolution. But fate, it seems, provided me with a most fortunate discovery. While searching the Internet, I came across a reference to the 307th regiment located in the online archives of the New York State Library. There have been many 307th Regiments in many wars, but what made this a remarkable coincidence was that it was the same 307th Regiment that Mr. Horn was in. As it turns out, the reference pertained to the memoirs of one Walter Kerr Rainsford who was a commanding officer of the 307th Regiment, 77th Division, A.E.F. I was able, with some difficulty, to obtain a copy of these memoirs as explained in more detail in the introduction to the book.
Until that time, I only had a view of events as described in Mr. Horn's diaries. The Rainsford writings described the same events from a whole new perspective, namely that of an officer. It was truly remarkable to see the differences in the two men's perceptions, that of a foot soldier and that of a commanding officer. Starting at the beginning of both memoirs, I began melding the words of Mr. Horn's diaries with the corresponding daily accounts of Captain Rainsford using different typefaces for clear distinction. What emerged was a fascinating study in contrasts. Mr. Rainsford was a Harvard graduate and his writing bears a distinct eloquence compared to the more "down to Earth" writing of Mr. Horn, a high school graduate. Additionally, Mr. Horn the foot soldier, along with his comrades, was completely ignorant (perhaps blissfully) of what lay ahead for them on any given day. Mr. Rainsford knew what was in store for his men often days ahead of time.
My intention in writing this book was to create a living history. I have read dozens of the many excellent historical works that retrospectively describe all aspects of World War One; this book looks at the War through the eyes of two participants as it was occurring.
PUBLICATION DATE: 4/1/2001