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The "Junior Sub," who writes the following account of the experiences of some of the first hundred thousand of Kitchener's army, is, as the title-page of the volume now reveals, Ian Hay Beith, author of those deservedly popular novels, The Right Stuff, A Man's Man, A Safety Match, and Happy-Go-Lucky.

Captain Beith, who was born in 1876 and therefore narrowly came within the age limit for military service, enlisted at the first outbreak of hostilities in the summer of 1914, and was made a sub-lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. After training throughout the fall and winter at Aldershot, he accompanied his regiment to the front in April, and, as his narrative discloses, immediately saw some very active service and rapidly rose to the rank of captain. In the offensive of September, Captain Beith's division was badly cut up and seriously reduced in numbers. He has lately been transferred to a machine-gun division, and "for some mysterious reason"--as he characteristically puts it in a letter to his publishers,--has been recommended for the military cross.

The story of The First Hundred Thousand was originally contributed in the form of an anonymous narrative to Blackwood's Magazine. Writing to his publishers, last May, Captain Beith describes the circumstances under which it was written:--

"I write this from the stone floor of an outhouse, where the pig meal is first accumulated and then boiled up at a particularly smelly French farm, which is saying a good deal. It is a most interesting life, and if I come through the present unpleasantness I shall have enough copy to last me twenty years. Meanwhile, I am using Blackwood's Magazine as a safety-valve under a pseudonym."

It is these "safety-valve" papers that are here offered to the American public in their completeness,--a picture of the great struggle uniquely rich in graphic human detail.

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The First Hundred Thousand
Ian Hay

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