The Devil Dogs of Belleau Wood; by Terrence McCauley

MWSA Review
Award-winning author Terrence McCauley scores again with his short but memorable THE DEVIL DOGS OF BELLEAU WOOD.  This quick read centers around a group of Marines, all from different units, who stumble upon each other after a major German barrage has caused chaos and confusion.  From different backgrounds and with vastly different levels of experience, they bond together with a common goal of surviving just a bit longer in Belleau Wood, the famous World War I battle that made the letters “USMC” feared around the world. 

This story is a prequel, told in first person by Corporal Charlie Doherty, who later becomes the cop hero of two of McCauley’s 1930’s NYC novels, PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN.  A first-person story can be hard to pull off because many authors will slip up and let some form of omniscience slip in, but McCauley pulls it off very well.

I was especially impressed by how McCauley develops his characters in so short a space (entire book was 130 pages) and also with his gripping combat sequences.  He obviously researched WWI combat, and did well with the technological specifics of that conflict.  

Fans of WWI, the Marines, and infantry combat stories will find this enjoyable, memorable, and entertaining.

By Rob Ballister, MWSA Awards Director and Reviewer

Author's Synopsis:


Charlie Doherty, the hero of PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN returns in a novella of World War I.

1918 –As a corrupt patrolman in New York City, Charlie Doherty had the ward bosses of Tammany Hall and other political cronies to watch his back. But in the hell-storm that became known as the Battle of Belleau Wood, only his rifle and his training keep him alive.

After taking cover behind a fallen tree during the worst of the German shelling, Doherty links up with a brave Marine captain and a ragtag crew of survivors who realize the only way out of danger lies not in retreat, but in marching toward the sound of the gunfire. They fight the enemy wherever they find them, hoping to hold back the advancing German tide long enough for the shaken American forces to regroup and re-enforce them. They lean forward. They dig in. They fight back.

Doherty and the others began the day as Marines. But by the time it is over, they will be part of a battle that helped secure the reputation of the United States Marine Corps as one of the most feared fighting forces in the world.

They will become known as THE DEVIL DOGS OF BELLEAU WOOD.

ISBN/ASIN: 1943402159
Book Format(s): Soft cover, Kindle
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 144