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Will Everett | World War One Living History Project

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World War One Living History Project

by Will Everett

Interviews with the last surviving U.S. veterans of the First World War. A TWO-CD set based on the acclaimed NPR documentary.
Genre: Spoken Word: Audiobook
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Introduction
William Everett, Walter Cronkite
4:17 album only
2. Causes and Consequences, 1914-1917
William Everett, Walter Cronkite
23:52 album only
3. America Goes to War, 1917
William Everett
28:20 album only
4. Armistice and Aftermath, 1918
William Everett
26:38 album only
5. Closing Tribute
William Everett
26:36 album only
6. End Credits
William Everett
2:36 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In 1917-1918, 4.5 million Americans served in World War One. Of that number only 14 remain.

The "World War One Living History Project" is a 2-CD audio documentary honoring the sacrifices and contributions of America's last surviving WWI veterans. The producers have travelled the country in search of the soldiers who made the world (in President Wilson's words) "safe for democracy." Twelve of these veterans, aged 105 to 115, share their reminiscences, humor and wit with guest host Walter Cronkite.

CD 1 of 2:

The program begins with a 30-minute introduction to the events of 1914-1917, narrated by Walter Cronkite. It explores the political circumstances that precipitated the outbreak of war, and the advances in communication, armaments and transportation which led to an acceleration of hostilities far beyond the known bounds of continental warfare in Europe. The war went quickly from the drawing-rooms of the European aristocracy to the trenches, where the armies of Europe became enmeshed in a conflict in which the prevailing military strategy was to relentlessly deplete the manpower of the opposing army. This segment is articulated through a combination of scripted narrative, recordings of period speeches, and short first-person accounts read by professional voice talent.

The subsequent half-hour segment introduces 12 of the 14 surviving veterans of 1917-1918. American entry in the war represented a tide change in public opinion, the result of unlimited German submarine warfare and threats against U.S. national interests. The veterans recall the first federal conscription in U.S. history, public perceptions of the war and their memories of trench warfare.

CD 2 of 2:

The second hour of the program offers a more intimate portrait of the veterans, their experiences and their attitudes toward the war some 90 years after the fact. It traces the effects of American involvement in the European war, and how the U.S. tipped the balance in favor of an allied victory. It also examines the critical mistakes made following the armistice and how these mistakes reverberated two decades later in World War Two.

The program concludes with a moving tribute by producer Will Everett on insights gained from meeting America's oldest veterans.


Producer: Will Everett
Guest Host: Walter Cronkite
Original Music: Chuck Wild
Production assistant: Joel Lamar

Major funding by:

Univ. of Texas at Brownsville / Texas Southmost College
South Padre Island Texas Convention and Visitors Bureau
Liberty Memorial Monument and Museum

Copyright 2006 Treehouse Productions. All rights reserved.

Original music copyright 2006 Gold Masque Music (ASCAP) and Chuck Wild (ASCAP).



to write a review

Derek Mayfield

Blew me away
Two hours of some of the most riveting historical documentary on radio. Cronkite has still got it! I really loved hearing the old veterans, all hugely old, 105 and up! Theirs is a lost world. thank god someone came along and got these memories before its too late. As of Dec 2007 only 2 vets left in the U.S. from WW1.

Lola-Margaret Hall

World War I Living History Project
This is an amazing work! I am sure that those WWI veterens must have felt an enormous amount of gratitude for the tribute paid to them, but the real value will be to the generations of students to come who would never have the opportunity to hear the voices and know the "rest of the story" about a war that will take up a few pages in their school history books. As a writer, myself, I had the chance to do a similar project, though on a much smaller scale. War games were held in a several county wide area of middle Tennessee in preparation for the action in the secomd world war. I will never forget the privilege I had to interview some soldiers who came back from that war to make their homes in Tennessee, as well as adults who were only small children as they witnessed soldiers "playing war" in their back yards. I think my experience gave me a much greater appreciation for the work you have put in to this documentary. We are all the richer for it. Thanks, Lola-Margaret Hall

Lori Pierro

A must for anyone interested in WW1
This is a great CD. It is especially nice for those of us who happen to be relatives of these great Veterans. I love that these veterans tell of their memories in their own words. You get small picture of what it was like for them. As well as the documented information from the war. The music in this cd is a nice tribute to the era. Thank you for doing this project.

Nicole Goe

Great service! Glad I found your website!
Great service! Glad I found your website! My husband so happy to find that I found this CD.


Fantastic! I have no regrets but it could have been more intimate...
I am not a World War I expert, nor am I a "history buff". I purchased this production out of a passion for understanding a largely forgotten conflict that my grand-uncle was a part of. I agree completely with the other reviews with only a few exceptions. I gave this double CD set 4 stars because for me it failed to be "an intimate portrait of its last veterans" as stated right on the cover. In my opinion it finally begins to get intimate on the "Closing Tribute" track of the second CD. It seems to me that almost 75% of the time is used to present a basic education of World War I. I can imagine that this project was designed this way in an attempt to make it more marketable to a wide audience. In short, I value this project highly but I would have liked to been spared the history lesson. More time should have been spent on painting a World War I picture using personal specifics and the INTIMACY element of the interviews.

Steve Rhodes

A compelling tribute!
World War ONE veterans? I had no idea these people still existed. I must say from the outset that I'm no fan of flag-waving appeals to patriotism, and most vet's day programs turn me off.

Folks, this is something different. I've been in commercial and public radio for 22 years, and I've never heard anything quite like this. Walter Cronkite's narrative in the first half-hour is compelling, if his voice is just a bit rough around the edges. (Cronkite is not in fact the host of the entire program but just this first hour. From here the producer and his veterans tell the story.) I differ with the writer (Cronkite?) on just how much the Zimmermann note had to do with U.S. involvement; submarine warfare was THE central factor, and few historians would challenge the point. A minor point ...

But wait till you meet the veterans. They're old and crusty but for this listener they brought the WW1 story down to manageable dimensions. I only wish the producers had found more of them. Leaving the story of WW1 in the hands of 12 witnesses is a bit tenuous -- but then, they ARE the last veterans. Once they're gone, the whole WW1 thing is lost forever.

This is a point well elucidated in the last half hour. Here the producer explores his own feelings following his interviews with these veterans, tying up the program nicely without being overly sentimental.

The only shame is that I can't award this fine work more than five stars. Give it a listen.