Nov. 1, 7 pm: James McGrath Morris, “The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made & Lost in War”

Ambulance DriversAfter meeting for the first time on the front lines of World War I, two aspiring writers forge an intense twenty-year friendship and write some of America’s greatest novels, giving voice to a “lost generation” shaken by war.

Eager to find his way in life and words, John Dos Passos first witnessed the horror of trench warfare in France as a volunteer ambulance driver retrieving the dead and seriously wounded from the front line. Later in the war, he briefly met another young writer, Ernest Hemingway, who was just arriving for his service in the ambulance corps. When the war was over, both men knew they had to write about it; they had to give voice to what they felt about war and life.

Their friendship and collaboration developed through the peace of the 1920s and 1930s, as Hemingway’s novels soared to success while Dos Passos penned the greatest antiwar novel of his generation, Three Soldiers. In war, Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a bitter public fight, fueled by money, jealousy, and lust.

Rich in evocative detail–from Paris cafes to the Austrian Alps, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West–The Ambulance Drivers is a biography of a turbulent friendship between two of the century’s greatest writers, and an illustration of how war both inspires and destroys, unites and divides.

Friday, November 10, 2 pm: Leonid Kondratiuk, “Massachusetts Goes to War: The 26th Yankee Division in World War One”

Yankee DivisionThe 26th “Yankee” Division, composed of units from the National Guards of the New England states, was the first full US Army division to arrive in France in 1917. Approximately, 15,000 Massachusetts men served in the 26th making it the largest unit the state sent to the war. Virtually, every town had men serving in the 26th. General Kondratiuk will speak about the Yankee Division’s role in World War I.

November 15, 7 pm: Joseph Williams, “The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War One, Espionage, and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History”

Laurentic“The Sunken Gold” is the story of how a British ship, HMS Laurentic, laden with forty-four tons of Allied gold bound for the United States, was sunk off the coast of Ireland by Germany and the epic struggle by divers from the British Navy to recover the treasure. The book also describes the underwater spywork conducted by the divers by breaking into sunken U-boats looking for codes, ciphers, and other secret documents. Their mission to recover the gold was highly successful and the divers recovered 99% of the treasure. However, there are still twenty bars of gold left in the wreck, waiting to be discovered.