Folks on the Home Front: Review

Folks on the Home Front

Do you know what was going on 100 years ago? World War I. Life was so different then, for the soldiers of course, but also for the folks on the home front.

Folks on the Home Front

Folks on the Home Front is the title of Margaret Porter Griffin’s new book. Margaret is a friend; a former teacher and now an author. She wrote a book about Theodore Roosevelt as a child which I recommend if you’re interested in history. I enjoyed the book before I’d even met Margaret. She also blogs.

So, now that you know a bit about this talented lady, let’s look at her latest book. It is about her maternal grandparents, and is basically a series of letters they wrote to each other when Jesse was in a Mississippi training camp and Margaret (yes, Margaret was named after her grandma) was a teacher in northeastern Indiana. Letters are also included from other family members. These letters were kept in a trunk over the years, and were sometimes read by the younger relatives. I think it’s really neat that Margaret is preserving them now in book form.

Along with the letters, Margaret includes notes on some things that might be confusing to modern readers. She also adds bits of history and photographs. I enjoyed the photos as they helped me feel like I knew the characters even better.

As I read Jesse’s letters from Mississippi, I kept feeling how relieved he must be not to be sent to Europe to fight. So imagine my surprise when he expressed to Margaret that he really wished he could go. At one point he even signed up to! It’s refreshing to see the men’s patriotism and willingness to fight for their country. One of the most touching portions of the book was a section detailing another of Margaret’s relatives, who was wounded in action during the war and died two days later. His poignant obituary is included: “He always liked birds and animals and they seemed to know him as a friend. He made a special study of birds, and when a boy used to watch them by the hour, studying their habits. He could answer almost any question concerning them … He was of quiet disposition, never talking much, and his remarks were always to the point.”

A Glimpse into the Past

It’s fascinating to see glimpses into life 100 years ago through these letters. Times have changed a lot. I found myself wishing for days when people communicated through letters and took the time to enjoy nature and the small things. Margaret writes to her sweetheart: “I caught the fever to start house cleaning when I came home this evening. Washed windows and hung curtains. I had to stop a couple of times to listen to the birds.”

Here are Margaret and Jesse about 10 years after the book’s letters were written, with 6 of the 10 children they would have. The author’s mom is the little one on the left looking to the side šŸ™‚

You can buy Folks on the Home Front at Amazon. I really recommend this personal glimpse into history!


Margaret has been kind enough to offer a copy to one of my readers. You can enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 thoughts on “Folks on the Home Front: Review

  1. Thank you, Susan! That was beautiful. You noticed a lot of the things I did – for instance, when Margaret had to stop working to listen to the birds. And Uncle Leo’s obituary has always been poignant for me. I read it long before I knew about my other grandparents’ letters. I think he was a lot like Theodore Roosevelt.

  2. 100 years seems like such a long time ago, but it’s not, really. I’m so glad this author preserved her family history for us to see.It seems like there’s a ton of WWII books, but very little of books from WWI or other eras in our history.

  3. How cool that she was able to write down these stories. I’m sure it will be a treasure for so many not only in her own family, but for all students of history.

  4. As usual, a great review, Susan. I know I’d enjoy reading this book because I like real history so much, as opposed to historical fiction. This sounds like a well-written book with lots of interesting concepts. I will make a note of it for the future.

  5. I would love to win this for my son. Unfortunately , we do not have any old letters. Thanks

  6. This sounds like a very interesting book. Unfortunately all letters and pictures have disappeared for my family.

  7. I’d like to win because I like to read about how regular folks managed life during the war.

  8. This is my kind of book, thanks. I have no old letters, because of a house fire.

  9. I like reading any books about the war. I don’t have any letters from my family that was in the military

  10. This book would be a good way to understand what life was like for my relatives during that time. Regretably, I have no letters or other sources from my grandfather.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.