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Disparaged US President Herbert Hoover Was a Great Humanitarian

DENVER, Colo. -- Herbert Hoover's fall from grace during his presidency (1928-1932) has been well documented, but his initial rise to greatness -- when he became known to the world as a Great Humanitarian -- has all but been forgotten, according to "Yanks behind the Lines" (ISBN 978-1538141649; Rowman & Littlefield) author Jeffrey B. Miller, who is the first historian in more than thirty years to focus his three award-winning nonfiction books on Hoover's WWI efforts in German-occupied Belgium.

On October 22, 1914, less than three months after the start of World War I, successful mining engineer Herbert Hoover founded in London the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB). The CRB with its Belgian counterpart, the Comité National (CN), created the largest food relief program the world had ever since -- saving from starvation for the four years of war nearly 10 million civilians trapped behind German lines. The relief cost nearly $1 billion WWI dollars ($24 billion in 2021).

One of America's finest hours in humanitarian relief was made possible by CRB "delegates," neutral American volunteers who went into German-occupied Belgium to guarantee the Germans did not take the food and ensure fair distribution to all civilians. The youngest U.S. delegate was only 19 years old.

Ultimately, the CRB helped change the way Americans saw themselves and how the world saw America.

Margaret Hoover, host of PBS's Firing Line with Margaret Hoover and great granddaughter of Herbert Hoover, says "It will be a revelation for many Americans to discover Jeff Miller's excellent account of the 'piratical state organized for benevolence,' which helped position the United States as a moral force for good in the world at the outbreak of the twentieth century's first world war."

"Yanks behind the Lines: How the Commission for Relief in Belgium Saved Millions from Starvation during World War I" chronicles the CRB, the CRB delegates, and Belgium under the harsh German rule.

The book is a 2021 Publishers Weekly Editor's Pick, a Colorado Humanities 2021 Colorado Book Award winner, a finalist in four national contests, and Kirkus Reviews declares, "This is a powerful work of history . . . An impressive blend of painstaking historical scholarship and riveting storytelling."

About the author, the book, and the publisher:

Based in Denver, Colo., Jeffrey B. Miller is a journalist and independent historian who has spent the last 10 years researching and writing about the CRB, CN, and German-occupied Belgium. "Yanks behind the Lines" is a fascinating summary of the CRB story. Structured thematically with chapters dedicated to all the critical issues, the book contains individual personal stories that are interwoven into the big picture to create a compelling read about this little-known but hugely important humanitarian program. Rowman & Littlefield publishes high-quality college texts, entertaining and informative books for general readers, and professional and scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences.


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Awards and Honors, Books and Publishing, Business, Entertainment, Free News Articles

New Book, ‘WWI Crusaders’ About Band of Yanks Saving Millions from Starvation Garners National Recognition

DENVER, Colo. -- The new nonfiction book, "WWI Crusaders: A band of Yanks in German-occupied Belgium help save millions from starvation as civilians resist the harsh German rule" (ISBN: 978-0990689386), is one of only 100 self-published books named to the prestigious Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018. Authored by Jeffrey B. Miller and published by Milbrown Press, it was released on Veterans Day 2018 to honor the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Kirkus produces 10,000 book reviews, annually, and only about 750 receive a starred review. The starred review for "WWI Crusaders," reads: "A tour-de-force history...gripping historical narrative...A magnum opus that celebrates the qualities of compassion, honor, and humanitarian virtue."

Miller knows that his book has significantly beaten publishing odds. "Most new print books die an anonymous death," he says. "That's not surprising when reportedly nearly one million new print books are released every year."

According to Bowker, a company that issues ISBN book identifiers, more than 600,000 new print books are self-published in America each year, while more than 300,000 new print books are released by traditional U.S. book publishers.

"WWI Crusaders" tells the long-forgotten, but true story of one of the largest food relief efforts the world has ever seen and represents one of America's finest hours in humanitarian aid. During WWI, the American-led, nongovernmental Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB) worked with its Belgian counterpart, the Comité National (CN), to feed everyday nearly 10 million Belgians and northern French who were trapped behind German lines.

It was a feat thought to be impossible - private citizens of a neutral country feeding an entire nation caught in the middle of a world war. The challenges were immense, from logistical obstacles and international intrigues to internal conflicts between the CRB and CN. But, in the end, the CRB and CN expended nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars (nearly 24 billion today) to save these lives. Conversely, the war took the lives of nearly 10 million soldiers.

The CRB's work also helped change the way the world saw America and how Americans saw their nation's humanitarian role on the world stage.

"WWI Crusaders" is a nonfiction narrative history written for general readers. It follows the leader of the CRB, a handful of CRB "delegates," a 22-year-old Belgian woman, two U.S. diplomats, and the leaders of the Belgian underground newspaper "La Libre Belgique."

The book is available in print ($24.95) and eBook ($9.99) from bookstores,, Ingram and direct from the publisher.

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