Founded in 1993, Literary Artists Representatives (LAR) is a full-service literary agency with an emphasis on narrative non-fiction and literary journalism. From time to time, LAR represents works of quality fiction that we deem distinctive and compelling.
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LAR's FEATURED BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH
FIRST OVER THERE
The Attack on Cantigny,
America's First Battle of World War I
By MATTHEW J. DAVENPORT
At first light on Tuesday, May 28th, 1918, khaki waves of American riflemen climbed from their trenches, charged across the shell-scarred French dirt of no-man'-land, and captured the hilltop village of Cantigny from the grip of the German Army. Those who survived the buzz-saw of enemy machine-gun fire and hand-to-hand fighting in the village's hollowed-out ruins held on for the next two days and nights in shallow foxholes under the drowning sting of mustard gas and crushing steel of artillery fire.
It had been thirteen months since the United States entered the World War, and on this sunny Spring morning, these thirty-five-hundred soldiers became the first "doughboys" to enter the fight. Drawing on the letters, diaries, and reports of the men themselves, author Matthew Davenport tells the inspiring, untold story of these soldiers of the U.S. Army's 1st Division and their journey to victory on the Western Front in the Battle of Cantigny, the first American battle of the "war to end war."
The operation was ordered by the leader of America's forces in Europe, General John "Black Jack" Pershing, and was planned by a young staff officer, Lt.Col. George C. Marshall, who would fill the Army's lead role in the Second World War, twenty-six years later.
With an attack supported by tanks, airplanes, and modern artillery--a first for American fighters--the battle was a historic turning point, marking the first steps of the United States onto the world stage and the birth of its modern Army.
FIRST OVER THERE is a riveting true story of America's first modern military battle, its first military victory during World War One, and its first steps onto the world stage
About the Author
MATTHEW J. DAVENPORT is a litigation attorney who is a former prosecutor and veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve. He is a member of the Western Front Association, the American Legion, and the Military Writers Society of America. Davenport was a finalist for the 2015 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History. He lives with his wife and two sons in Greenville, North Carolina. First Over There is his first book.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR
"FIRST OVER THERE"
“This story of the men who participated in the first attack by American troops in World War I is military history at its best. The Battle of Cantigny proved to European allies and enemies alike that U.S. doughboys could fight. The gritty, grinding, lethal nature of warfare on the Western Front comes alive for the reader in this splendid book.”
- James McPherson, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
“Not only does Davenport trace the battle with addictive readability, but he brings to life both the ordinary soldiers who were there and the leaders who still resonate throughout history. . . Davenport has placed Cantigny in its rightful place on the map of World War I battles.”
- Joseph Persico, New York Times best-selling author of Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour
"First Over There is no doubt the first salvo on a distinguished literary and historical career. Davenport is that rarest of military historians, marshaling a vast amount of battlefield action while keeping the human drama centerstage. The Battle of Cantigny is a historical turning point, arguably the true beginning of the American Century. It has never been told better than in this rousing recreation, as gripping a read as it is definitive scholarship."
- Richard Norton Smith, CSPAN's in-house historian and author of On His Own Terms: the Biography of Nelson Rockefeller
“Davenport has brought this engagement and the men who fought and died in it and lived on after it back in a moving way. This is first-rate military history, which recount the personal reality of this country’s first foray overseas as a great power.”
- John Milton Cooper, author of Pulitzer-prize-finalist Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
"A spectacularly well-written and researched work on the Battle of Cantigny (1918) in northern France . . . From the "creeping barrage" of artillery to the eventual American victory, the reader will hear every explosion, feel each bullet whiz past, and sometimes cry at the loss of a comrade. This is a brilliant work."
“Drawing on a wealth of eye-witness accounts, Davenport tells us what it took to go ‘over the top’ in the face of deadly machine gun fire. His aim is true. This is military history at its best.”
- Lieut. General Daniel P. Bolger (US Army, retired), author of Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
“Matthew Davenport gives a human face to the ordeal of the doughboys who gave the AEF its first victory at Cantigny, May 1918. His book recounts the reality of warfare on the Western Front.”
- Allan R. Millett, Stephen Ambrose professor of history at the University of New Orleans, and author of For the Common Defense
“Matthew Davenport's new account is superb. Based on exhaustive research, his narrative moves easily among the great questions of policy and strategy, the dramatic experiences of individual soldiers, and the home front. This is excellent military history and cannot fail to re-awaken our interest in that long ago conflict as we enter its centennial.”
- Col. Paul Herbert (U.S. Army, retired), Executive Director of the First Division Museum
“Matthew J. Davenport's First Over There is an exhilarating, minutely detailed, boots-on-the-ground account of America's baptism by fire into the maelstrom of World War 1. It's a solid work of military history -- and a great read."
- James Carl Nelson, author of The Remains of Company D
“The battle of Cantigny has been ably examined by many superb historians, but the story of that seminal engagement has never been told in a more gripping fashion than by Matthew Davenport in this powerful, popular account.”
- Lieut.Col. Mark Grotelueschen (USAF), professor of history at the US Air Force Academy and author of The AEF Way of War