Soldier Boy: Louis Bromfield, Letters Home From World War 1, 1917-1919
by Thomas Bachelder (2021)
People familiar with Louis Bromfield know him primarily as a Pulitzer Winning novelist, or thanks to Malabar Farm as an outspoken advocate for sustainable agriculture. However, years before Louis had his first novel released in 1924 he was already a published writer thanks to his mother’s efforts.
Louis drove an ambulance in France during the First World War and wrote many letters home and to friends. In these letters he detailed his extensive and sometimes grim wartime experiences. His mother saw to it that several of these letters were published in the Mansfield newspapers of the day.
Brief excerpts from a few of the letters sent home and to friends have appeared in books about Louis Bromfield. However, until now most have not been read since they were first received more than a hundred years ago. Collectively they offer a window into a little know period of Louis Bromfield’s early life and to the influence that this time had on his later years.