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Delafield Neighbors

Jennifer Rude Klett Chronicles Story of Five WWI Doughboys

Feb 04, 2014 01:43PM ● By Laura Ustanovska

Jennifer with bookseller Lynn and copies of Alamo Doughboy at Books & Company in Oconomowoc, © Jennifer Rude Klett

Nonfiction writer Jennifer Rude Klett, a resident of Delafield, author of recently-released Alamo Doughboy: Marching Into The Heart Of Kaiser's Germany During World War I (Branden Books, 2014), tells the story of Pvt. Judge Knott, Jennifer's grandfather, his two brothers and two cousins who served in the First World War. One of the cousins was a member of the legendary Lost Battalion.

Jennifer has held a long-time interest in genealogy and history. In fact, she began researching her family in her early 20s. “I think I was the only one without gray hair hanging out in the microfilm room in the Wisconsin State Historical Society building in the 1980s,” jokes Jennifer. She describes Alamo Doughboy as a case of family history meeting world history.

During the eight years Jennifer spent working on Alamo Doughboy, she was frustrated to find comparatively little published about the doughboy experience in World War I. This year marks 100 years since World War I began, and Jennifer hopes the centennial will bring about renewed interest in the topic. “I hope Alamo Doughboy serves as a 'gateway' World War I book and acts as an incentive to read on,” comments Jennifer. “It's not a long, comprehensive academic book. It's a personal true story that, I hope, resonates with ordinary people who will wonder about their own family's experiences in World War I. Their quiet accounts of history may still be present and awaiting discovery.”

Jennifer also hopes to draw attention to the lack of a World War I memorial in Washington D.C. “The doughboys are all gone now. We can't thank them. We can only remember,” says Jennifer. She believes this generation – the ones who put food on the table during the Great Depression and watched their sons fight the Germans all over again – deserves to be honored with a national memorial on the mall.

Jennifer, who serves as the Delafield Public Library's e-newsletter editor, says the library was very helpful to her in researching the book. Her next author appearance and book signing will be at the library on Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30pm. Jennifer will co-present the program “World War I: One Hundred Years Ago” with historian Katy Zignego.

Alamo Doughboy is available locally at Books & Company - Oconomowoc, WI and Martha Merrell's Books - Waukesha, WI and online at and publisher

Photograph from Alamo Doughboy Pvt Knott is standing far left May 1918 Camp Travis Texas  Jennifer Rude Klett

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