The Pulp History of an Old Devil Dog
November 22, 2013
Legend has it that the Germans began calling U.S. Marines “Teufelshunde,” “Devil Dogs,” in France at The Battle of Belleau Wood during The Great War. It was during his tour of duty in France that our subject, Smedley Darlington Butler, already the recipient of two Medals of Honor, would earn the nickname (one of several) of “Old Duckboard.” But the story begins many years earlier and will result in a surprise “twist” ending for an American military hero.
Devil Dog: The Amazing True Story of the Man Who Saved America is one of a series of books from Simon and Schuster to kick off a new genre, “pulp history.” These books feature lavish illustrations reminiscent of traditional nineteenth century publications telling little known stories from history. The books are hard cover with no dust jacket and full color glossy graphics with garish headlines such as “Unbelievable and ALL TRUE!”
David Talbot, author of Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years, along with his sister, Margaret Talbot, is the co-creator of the Pulp History series and has enlisted the talent of highly regarded graphic artist Spain Rodriguez for Devil Dogs. Talbot chronicles Butler’s journey to fame and heroism beginning as a teenage Marine fighting in Cuba. Butler’s assignments in The Boxer Rebellion, The Banana Wars, and France earn him a distinguished place in American lore. He becomes the military hero that goes on to dazzle the public with more exploits in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
If you thought Seven Days in May was really fiction, wait until you read what really happened to Smedley Butler after his war years. Truth really is stranger than fiction! Like many of our heroes, Butler died much too young but managed to get several works published and delivered some memorable speeches. The previously mentioned, “little known stories from history” are a trivia lovers delight.
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