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"Lowdermilk, who lives in Santa Fe, has commemorated his grandfather's World War I service with a new book, Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary (George F. Thompson Publishing). The book contains all of Carlson's diary entries as well as Lowdermilk's first-person account of retracing Carlson's World War I journey from France to Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.
"Lowdermilk said he wrote the book to remind others of the sacrifices made by World War I veterans. "World War II is being forgotten. World War I has been forgotten," he said. "Nobody knows about Korea. Even Vietnam — to the young people of today, that's ancient history."
" In tracking down his grandfather's World War I service history, Lowdermilk said he came to realize that there is no glory in war. He wants the book to inspire others "to find the heroes in their own families. I don't think any of us have to scratch very deep to find them."
—Robert Nott, reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican
Read the full article here
On a cool, misty morning, Jeff Lowdermilk was wandering past rows of white crosses in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France.
"I started saying the names out loud," he said of the American soldiers buried there from World War I. "I was wondering, when was the last time someone said their names aloud?
"It was very moving … I had an epiphany. I could feel the strength of all these wonderful Americans. I told them, out loud, 'I will do everything I can to perpetuate your memory.'"
So what had started out as curiosity about his grandfather's experiences in "the war to end all wars" and later became a passion, at that point turned into a mission, the Santa Fe man said.
And part of the mission was carried out with the recent publication of a book that combined words from his grandfather's diary written during his slog across France and Germany with Lowdermilk's own adventures in retracing those steps.
—Jackie Jadrnak, reporter for Journal North
Read the full article here or download the pdf

"This is a uniquely beautiful and touching book by a renowned photographer. Jeffrey Lowdermilk inherited his grandfather's diary from World War I. The hand-written book details the places and the terrible battles of the many he was in while a doughboy soldier. Jeffrey, who had loved to read about World War I history since he was a young reader, became fascinated by the diary and decided to go as a photographer to the places described in such detail and try to follow his heroic grandfather's footsteps and learn more from experiencing the places and people. He traveled extensively through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany where his grandfather, George A. Carlson, had served with the American Expeditionary Forces. He met many of the veteran soldiers from that period of history and became friendly, eliciting their stories about those times also, helping Jeffrey to make the history more real and personal. He used his skills as photographer to make images of the places, the cemeteries, bridges, buildings, landscapes where these battles had taken place, as well as pictures of the many re-enactments that take place from time to time now. The touching foreword is written by Helen Patton, the granddaughter of the same doughboy soldier. I believe this book is a moving portrait of the history of about a century ago, when the world was so troubled. Anyone interested in history will find this book very touching and worthwhile because it truly makes history come alive in an unforgettable way."
—Bonnie Neely, owner of Real Travel Adventures and book reviewer for Amazon

"Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary is a lasting and loving tribute to the honor and memory of all Americans who served their country during World War I, especially the 'doughboys,' the common foot soldiers who fought in Europe for liberty and a better world. The words of Jeff Lowdermilk's grandfather, taken from his war-time diary, speak viscerally to us about his experiences. As illustrations accompanying these words, none could be more appropriate than Lowdermilk's photographs, as they provide a visual record of the legacy of service and sacrifice of many thousands who did their patriotic duty."
—Jonathan R. Casey, Museum Archivist, National World War I Museum


"Jeff Lowdermilk has made a significant contribution to the public memory of World War I. By combining the straightforward narrative of his grandfather, George A. Carlson, with his stunning photographs of memorials and landscapes associated with the war, Lowdermilk captures the sense of courage and sacrifice of that epochal moment in world history. In his introduction, he reminds us that, because the American role was relatively brief, this war is often overlooked in our history books. Because of his passionate dedication to this subject, the valorous service of his grandfather and all the grandfathers—including my own—who fought to defend freedom will not be forgotten."
—Dr. Brent D. Glass, Director Emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution



"Jeff Lowdermilk has done more than provide a civic service—remembering the thousands of American doughboys who fought and died for freedom on the fields of France, Belgium, and Germany during World War I. He has done more than give us a personal testament to his grandfather's bravery, memory, and the heartfelt relationship between a young man and his wise elder. He has given us a work of art. Lowdermilk's achingly beautiful photographs of the graves, monuments, and fields of valor of the American Expeditionary Forces cannot fail to impress the reader with the heroism of a generation of Americans long and wrongfully forgotten. May his grandfather's words and his spectacular photographic vision move you as much as they have moved me."
—Bruce C. McKenna, creator, writer, and producer of HBO's Emmy Award-winning miniseries, The Pacific, and writer of the television series, Band of Brothers

"Nearly a century ago, the United States undertook its largest military campaign ever, the Meuse Argonne Offensive. This offensive alone involved more than 1,200,000 men and led to nearly 20,000 casualties each week. Today, most Americans know nothing of this and other tragic events of the Great War. Jeff Lowdermilk's book brilliantly bridges this knowledge gap by introducing his grandfather, a World War I soldier, to a new generation.

"In this excellent piece of work, Lowdermilk draws from his grandfather's war diary to describe the life of the American soldier, the doughboy. The story comes to life as he compliments that narrative with contemporary photographs of those same blood-stained places in France where his grandfather fought to preserve freedom. As the centennial commemoration of World War I comes upon us in 1914, Lowdermilk's book is well poised and perfectly timed to remind today's generation of the legacy of heroism and sacrifice required to make our nation great. Lowdermilk's book is a powerful testimony to the heroes who paid the price of freedom. His grandfather is one of those heroes, and his story is one worth telling."
—Colonel Douglas V. Mastriano, Ph.D. Professor of Military Strategy U.S. Army War College

"Honoring the Doughboys: Following My Grandfather's World War I Diary is a must read for all generations. Lowdermilk's eloquent way of weaving his own photographic journey with history along with his grandfather's personal war experience is an awe-inspiring gift of history with a heart. This book brings to life the very sacrifices that so many men and women have endured throughout history in the pursuit of freedom and America's dedication to world peace. This book enlightens, educates, and entertains all at the same time. Wonderfully done, beautifully illustrated, and comprehensively told, it is highly recommended!"
—Deborah York, great-granddaughter of Sergeant Alvin C. York and Executive Director of the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation
"I am sure that no grandfather could be more proud of the way Jeff Lowdermilk has honored his service and followed in his footsteps. His photographs capture with awe the memory of those courageous Americans who served in the Great War. Each photograph is perfectly lit, and the composition always captures some important detail of the landscape or monument."
—Frances Levine, Ph.D., Director of the New Mexico History Museum

"From our first meeting, Jeff Lowdermilk has always impressed me with his dedication toward honoring America's military men and women, both past and present. His photographs and narrative nobly connect us with his grandfather's service as well as all of our World War I veterans. I wholeheartedly endorse this important work."
—Brigadier General Jack Fox (Retired), New Mexico National Guard and Bataan Memorial Museum

"Drawing from his grandfather's diary as well as his own travels and photographs, Jeffrey Lowdermilk recaptures the valor and immense American sacrifice of times past. He follows his grandfather's path through the harrowing battles of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne and teaches us to hold history's lessons in our hearts. The veterans of the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars strongly recommend this wonderful book."
—Pamela Shrecengast, Chapter Commander
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