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Kings, Queens and Pawns

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Book Overview: 

A personal account of the American author's visit to Europe in January 1915 while a war correspondent in Belgium for The Saturday Evening Post. She writes: "War is not two great armies meeting in a clash and frenzy of battle. It is much more than that. War is a boy carried on a stretcher, looking up at God's blue sky with bewildered eyes that are soon to close; war is a woman carrying a child that has been wounded by a shell; war is spirited horses tied in burning buildings and waiting for death; war is the flower of a race, torn, battered, hungry, bleeding, up to its knees in icy water; war is an old woman burning a candle before the Mater Dolorosa for the son she has given. For King and Country!"

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He'll do nicely," said the nurse. "A broken jaw and the arm."

His eyes were on me, so I bent over.

"The nurse says you will do nicely," I assured him. "It will take time, but you will be very comfortable here, and—"

The nurse had been making further investigation. Now she turned back the other end of the blanket His right leg had been torn off at the hip.

That story has an end; for that boy died.

The drive back to Dunkirk was a mad one. Afterward I learned to know that red-headed Flemish chauffeur, with his fiercely upcurled moustache and his contempt of death. Rather, perhaps, I learned to know his back. It was a reckless back. He wore a large army overcoat with a cape and a cap with a tassel. When he really got under way at anything from fifty miles an hour to the limit of the speedometer, which was ninety miles, the gilt tassel, which in the Belgian cap . . . Read More

Community Reviews

For students of World War I, this book is a must. Mary Roberts Rinehart actually got to the front and gathered information about the situation in Belgium and northern France from January to March 1915, seeking to illuminate the war and enlighten her fellow Americans about what was really happenin...more

This book provides insight into the realities of the first world war in a way never shown in history textbooks. It ought to be required reading, because it shows the humanity and inhumanity of war, something far more important to learn than names, dates, and places.

My mother suggested this book to me. Mary Roberts Rinehart was a writer of popular mysteries when she was a young woman. I had recently completed a couple of histories of World War I, and she thought Kings, Queens and Pawns: An American Woman at the Front would shed additional light.

Ms. Rinehart...more

Well, no matter how many other books I have read about WW1, I always learn something new. The author actually spent time at the front. Her purpose was to see the truth about what had happened and what was happening. She talked with the 3 Field Marshalls of the Allied Forces,and with the Queens of...more