The Academy: A Novel of West Point

The Academy: A Novel of West Point

by Ed Ruggero
     
 

Once in a generation, a novel captures the full scope and drama of the U. S. military experience, with characters and conflicts that come unforgettably to life. Now Ed Ruggero, who "writes about wars and warriors with the same I-have-been-there, no-nonsense authority as Hemingway" (Col. David H. Hackworth, USA [Ret.], New York Times bestselling author of

Overview

Once in a generation, a novel captures the full scope and drama of the U. S. military experience, with characters and conflicts that come unforgettably to life. Now Ed Ruggero, who "writes about wars and warriors with the same I-have-been-there, no-nonsense authority as Hemingway" (Col. David H. Hackworth, USA [Ret.], New York Times bestselling author of About Face), draws from his twenty-year association with West Point, the U.S. Military Academy, too create a classic for our time: a tale of probing authenticity and unrelenting suspense that takes us behind the stone walls and into the inner sanctums of one of the Army's most revered institutions.

A bitter wind is blowing from Washington across West Point, and Major Tom Gates—a muddy-boots soldier ill at ease in a spit-and-polish world—is about to face a battle more brutal than any he has ever known. It began with an all-to-human mistake—Gates had too much to drink and pushed a cadet too far—and it will explode into a political firestorm that could leave careers, lives, and West Point itself, in ruins.

Senator Lamar Bruckner has his eye on the White House, but his target is West Point. He flagrantly condemns the Academy as a waste of taxpayer money, a military ivory tower—and Gates' momentary lapse in judgement is the first charge in a smear campaign that could propel Bruckner to the presidency. Caught in the middle of Bruckner's manhunt is Wayne Holder, a fourth-year cadet, whose golden surfer looks and reputation as a ladies' man are far from the pristine image of the Long Gray Line. But for Holder to join that line, he faces a private conflict between honor and desire—upon which the ultimate fate of the Academy rests. Now, enemy lines are drawn in a war of political motives and personal emotion that touches many lives...

Kathleen Gates, Tom's wife, is as calculating as her husband is bullheaded, and she will use any weapon to protect him. Bruckner's aide, Claude Braintree, has come to West Point to further the senator's career—and will exploit the Academy to do it. Alex Trainor, a cadet from the heartland, is trapped in a personal crisis that shatters his conservative ideals. And Brigadier General David Simon dreams of taking control of the Point to re-create it in his own image.

In The Academy, Ed Ruggero brilliantly captures the honor and the controversy, the glory and the human flaws of West Point and its people. With prose as crisp as a flag snapping in th wind, this thrilling portrayal will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Lucien Truscott in his recent thriller Heart of War, Ruggero takes aim at relations between the sexes in this lurid potboiler about scandal at West Point. The potboiling itself is the work of Kathleen Gates, wife of Major Tom Gates, the new West Point tactical officer. When a letter of reprimand is drawn up over an incident between Major Gates and cadet Wayne Holder, Kathleen goes to bat for her husband in Jackie Collins style, sparking a scandal of her own that she will use (with the help of a headline-grabbing senator who wants to cut West Point's budget) to save her husband's career. Readers who can believe Ruggero's premisethat a woman would initiate sex with a stranger to protect her husbandwill find this a gripping tale. Others will be less impressed with this series of steamy peccadilloes in which (barring a couple of conspiratorial generals) the manipulative, foolhardy and gullible characters are overwhelmingly female. Either way, Ruggero (Breaking Ranks) has written a fascinating story that mixes hardheaded realism about what it takes to be a soldier with over-the-top flourishes, including a born-again cadet who commits suicide when he learns that his girlfriend has been coerced into an abortion, and a back-pew sex scene that takes place during a re-enactment of the Jonathan Edwards sermon "Sinners in The Hands of an Angry God." (Nov.) FYI: Ruggero was a student at West Point (he served in the Army for 11 years) and later an assistant professor of English there.
Library Journal
Wayne Holder, senior cadet at West Point, is at the center of a series of scandals that endanger the very existence of the 200-year-old institution. An instructor's error in judgment leads his wife to unusual efforts to protect his job. A publicity-hungry senator's public hearings threaten major downsizing of the academy, another instructor's extramarital affair is blowing up, Holder's roommate commits suicide, and Wayne himself has misdeeds to conceal. All these plot devices and characters affect, and are affected by, the closed society of West Point. Ruggero (Breaking Ranks, LJ 11/15/95), a West Point graduate and infantry officer, has written on military life before, but here the academy itself seems to be the main character as civilians and military struggle with its mottoDuty, Honor, Country. Recommended for all public and academic fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/97.]Roland C. Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Kirkus Reviews
Ex-infantryman Ruggero momentarily abandons Major Mark Isen, protagonist of his estimable Army series (Breaking Ranks, 1995, etc.), for an absorbing tale of sociopolitical intrigue set at the US Military Academy.

Early in the school year, as West Point braces for a potentially shattering inquiry by White Houseminded Senator Lamar Bruckner, Major Tom Gates injures one of his student charges in the wake of an ill-advised disciplinary exercise. Because the overzealous officer (not a USMA grad) had been drinking before the incident, he could receive a career-ending letter of reprimand. Aware that her husband's actions could have unfortunate consequences, Kathleen Gates (an unsentimental Army brat who might teach Lady Macbeth a thing or two) launches a thoroughgoing damage- control program that extends from the sexual seduction of a hang- loose senior cadet named Wayne Holder through an under-the-table deal with the Academy's dean and an offer of perjured testimony to the Bruckner Commission's scandal-oriented investigators. Vying for the favor of their unscrupulous patron, however, the preppy hawkshaws invariably work at cross purposes, as do most of the randy, ambitious administrators and faculty members in their sights. At the 11th hour, the exacting duty/honor/country code drummed into the Army's officer corps during its West Point days helps principals pick their way through a host of conflicting agendas. At no small cost, following his roommate's suicide, Holder (an unlikely candidate for assuming responsibility of any sort) takes the decisive steps necessary to neutralize those who would do the institution serious injury for personal gain.

A labor-of-love yarn in which the USMA (the author's alma mater) and its largely admirable traditions figure prominently in a neatly plotted conspiracy notable for a larger-than-life female villain.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671891695
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
12/01/1997
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
7.16(w) x 9.48(h) x 2.18(d)

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