Something of a protégé of Willa Cather, Sergeant went to France as a correspondent for the New Republic, then a weekly journal of left political commentary. While touring a ‘safe’ battlefield a few weeks before the Armistice, she was seriously wounded by a grenade in an accident which killed another member of the group and cost their French lieutenant escort his arm. She spent the next six months recuperating in hospitals in France, writing the diaries and notes on which Shadow Shapes: The Journal of a Wounded Woman (1920) is based. Her experience in France strained her friendship with Cather, who she felt was romanticizing the war in her bestselling novel, One of Ours.
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