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Publisher's Summary

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is sacred ground at Arlington National Cemetery. Originally constructed in 1921 to hold one of the thousands of unidentified American soldiers lost in World War I, it now also contains unknowns from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars and receives millions of visitors each year who pay silent tribute. 

When the first unknown soldier was laid to rest in Arlington, General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, selected eight of America's most decorated, battle-hardened veterans to serve as body bearers. For the first time, O'Donnell portrays their heroics on the battlefield 100 years ago, thereby animating the tomb by giving voice to all who have served.The body bearers appropriately spanned America's service branches and specialties. Their ranks include a cowboy who relived the charge of the light brigade, a Native American who heroically breached mountains of German barbed wire, a salty New Englander who dueled a U-boat for hours in a fierce gunfight, a tough New Yorker who sacrificed his body to save his ship, and an indomitable gunner who, though blinded by gas, nonetheless overcame five machine gun nests. Their stories slip easily into the larger narrative of America's involvement in the conflict, transporting readers into the midst of dramatic battles during 1917 and 1918 that ultimately decided the Great War.

Celebrated military historian and best-selling author Patrick O'Donnell illuminates the saga behind the creation of the tomb itself and recreates the moving ceremony during which it was consecrated and the eight body bearers, and the sergeant who had chosen the one body to be interred, solemnly united.

Brilliantly researched, vividly told, The Unknowns is a timeless tale of heeding the calls of duty and brotherhood and humanizes the most consequential event of the 20th century, which still casts a shadow a century later.

©2018 Patrick K. O'Donnell (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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OUTSTANDING STORY!

A thoroughly enjoyable telling of a story that is a must listen for anyone interested in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Their courage and sacrifice must never be forgotten.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Something most Americans never knew.

This book should be in everyone's library. The world owes a debt of gratitude to these brave men of 100 years ago. My grandfather served with the 70th in France & Belgium, never talked much about what he experienced. Now I know. The author puts you right in the center of the action. The reader gives this book the feel of actually being there. This history and sometimes history isn't pretty. this is one of those occasions.

Everyone needs to read and reread this book because what happened a hundred years ago is still affecting our lives and our world today.

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  • Ed
  • 07-18-18

WWI Unknown

Excellent book.
Meticulously researched. Recommended for anyone who likes military history and desires to learn how the Unknown was selected and who were the men selected to accompany Unknown to the final resting place - Arlington.

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What a story!

I’ve always enjoyed history, particularly of the World Wars. This book moved me to tears. Such sacrifice of the men and their families. I learned so much listening to this book; I don’t know how I would have done reading it traditionally. There is a lot of detail and the battle descriptions are vivid and heart breaking. Highly recommend.

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  • Garret
  • Temecula Ca.
  • 05-23-18

Excellent, well researched and interesting book

I enjoyed this book. Narrator was great. It was a bit dull at parts. There wasn't great cohesion, which the stories are meant to be individualistic, but at the expense of overall clarity. The end really wrapped it up for me though, mainly because there was clarity and a chronologic story.