The Lost Generation : World War I Poetry : Fred Emerson Brooks

Cover of Brooks' Patriotic Toasts. Uncle Sam holding American flag


This edition of Patriotic Toasts was published in 1917 by Forbes and Company in Chicago. Each page has a lithographic decorative blue border surrounding the printed text, and the dense cardboard cover contains a stoic depiction of Uncle Sam carrying an American flag, reinforcing the book’s self-proclaimed patriotism. The author, Fred Emerson Brooks, a popular 19th century poet, wrote several books of “toasts” – short poems likely meant to be read aloud in social gatherings. A notice in the back of this volume advertises Brooks’s other publications, including the comically titled Cream Toasts and Buttered Toasts, with a series of quotes from major newspapers attesting to Brooks’s sparkling wit. The collection of poems in this book captures the vigor of the American spirit at the time of its entry into World War I. Poems such as “Old Glory” and “Liberty’s Banner” are dense with the nationalist rhetoric that would eventually lose much of its appeal in the years to come. Other poems, like “To Our Own Good Germans,” exemplify the propagandizing attempts to vilify the people of Germany. When reading these poems, one can easily envision the host of a dinner party at the turn of the 20th century lifting his glass at the end of a spirited speech. 

Find Patiortic Toasts in the UNT Libary Catalog.