Over there…. The Yanks are coming. So prepare. Say a prayer. We'll be over. We're coming over. And we won't come back till it's over. Over there.

American composer George M. Cohan, “the man who owned Broadway,” put those words to music in 1917. They helped inspire Americans to support their nation's entry into the Great War, an act framed by their leaders as one that would make the world safe for democracy. Central Pennsylvanians embraced their nation's cause. The essays collected in Duty Calls at Home: Central Pennsylvania Responds to the Great War, 1914—1918 renders this vividly. They demonstrate how “fully the Great War permeated the fabric of daily life in Central Pennsylvania” (viii).

This constitutes a valuable service. One hundred years ago the Great War consumed America's attention. Now it barely registers. The grand purpose ascribed to it by America's leaders failed to materialize. It did not prove...

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