Lyceum opens with Doughboys

Feb 07, 2014
Richard Rubin

Belfast — Left Bank Books will launch its sixth annual Winter Lyceum series of informal Sunday afternoon talks with The Last of the Doughboys, an illustrated talk by author Richard Rubin, Sunday, Feb. 16, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The programs are a revival of the historic lyceum tradition that was popular in Belfast and other parts of the country throughout the 1800s. Five different programs will be held at the downtown bookshop, 109 Church St., through Sunday, April 13, all free and open to the public.

Rubin's talk is based on his recent book, “The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War,” the product of his 10-year effort to find and interview the last surviving American veterans of World War I.  With little help from veterans organizations in this country, but crucial help from the French, he was able to find and talk to several dozen veterans, all of them older than age 100 when he met them and all of them now gone.

"Few big things are as overlooked and under-appreciated in the modern American landscape as the First World War," said Rubin, who initially hoped to find just one or two survivors, maybe half a dozen if he was lucky. In the end, he found every last one.

Rubin began his career as a reporter in Greenwood, Miss., which was the setting for his first book, “Confederacy of Silence,” the true account of a young black man's trial for murder. He has written extensively for the Atlantic, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Smithsonian, among many other publications.

There is no charge for the Sunday programs and and no tickets needed, but space is limited and a call to reserve a seat is welcome. For more information about the Lyceum, call the bookshop at 338-9009. The next program in the series will be Sunday, March 2, with Peter Korn, founder of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport and author of “Why We Make Things and Why It Matters.”

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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