In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel by Nancy Mace, Mary Jane Ross |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel

In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel

3.7 18
by Nancy Mace, Mary Jane Ross
When Nancy Mace entered The Citadel, the United States government had just recently overturned the ruling that women were not allowed to enter the "Core of Cadets." Having grown up in a military family, Nancy was not unfamiliar with the harsh realities of military life. Her father, a brigadier general, had graduated from The Citadel and her older sister was a military


When Nancy Mace entered The Citadel, the United States government had just recently overturned the ruling that women were not allowed to enter the "Core of Cadets." Having grown up in a military family, Nancy was not unfamiliar with the harsh realities of military life. Her father, a brigadier general, had graduated from The Citadel and her older sister was a military graduate, but it would be Nancy's journey alone. And as many a knob has found out, life inside the dazzling white ramparts of this famous fortress is far from pleasant. Upon entering those grand gates, Nancy Mace soon found out that she wasn't just fighting the tradition of the corps, but the culture and city that surrounded it.

Steeped in tradition and lore, the grand bastion known as El Cid is considered one of the South's most infamous and controversial institutions. Built in 1842, it has turned out a unique brand of Southern man -- and now woman. This is the true first-person account of a young woman's battle to be a part of the long gray line.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW called the chronicle of Mace's experience as the first female cadet ever to graduate from the Citadel a "narrative studded with hard-hitting details. Ultimately a story of triumph." All ages. (Sept.)
Although Shannon Faulkner paved the way under court order for women to attend the Citadel, the formerly all-male military academy in Charleston, South Carolina, author Mace was the first woman to actually graduate in 1995. Mace possessed all of the attributes one might consider necessary to her success in the military—she is the daughter of a highly decorated brigadier-general, himself an alumnus of the Citadel;is the sister of two women who are West Point graduates;is a superb athlete;and possesses a fierce sense of independence and competitiveness. Nevertheless she had to work harder and be better at everything just to be accepted even at the most basic level. Mace's story of her three years at the Citadel is riveting. Her portrayal of the rigorous physical and mental expectations at a military academy leave the reader almost exhausted. Mace spends about three-quarters of the book describing her first year, in which cadets are treated as almost subhuman. Readers unfamiliar with military tradition will find this book intriguing. Black-and-white photos illustrate life at the academy. The appendix includes letters and e-mails that Mace sent to her family as well as orientation documents, schedules, lists of supplies, and a layout of her dorm room. Written informally in the first person, this book will draw readers in immediately. Teens of any age will enjoy the story. Those teens interested in attending a military college definitely should pick it up. Pair this book with Amy Efaw's fictional account of life for women at West Point, Battle Dress (HarperCollins, 2000/VOYA October 2000). Illus. Photos. Appendix. VOYA CODES:4Q 5P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasionallapses;Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday;Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Simon & Schuster, 240p, $18. Ages 11 to 18. Reviewer:Linda Roberts—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
Children's Literature
This is the autobiography of Nancy Mace, who in 1999 became the first female graduate of The Citadel Military Academy, in Charleston, South Carolina. After the courts ordered "El Cid," as it is known, to open its doors to women, Nancy Mace, along with three other females, was admitted to the storied institution in 1996. For three years she endured a grueling schedule of academic, physical and military training. The book emphasizes Ms. Mace's first year as a "knob," the term for first year students, named for the required short haircuts. In addition to a strenuous day to day schedule, Ms. Mace had to brave good natured ribbing as well as flat out cruelty because of her sex. Not only was she able to succeed where many young men have failed, she was able to excel, graduating with honors. For any young person, male or female, who might be thinking, "I can't do that," the achievements of Nancy Mace should serve as an inspiration of what one can accomplish with courage and determination. An Appendix is included, containing memorabilia and correspondence from Ms. Mace's Citadel years. 2001, Simon & Schuster, $18.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this autobiographical account of one of the first two female graduates of The Citadel, Mace relives both the grueling emotional experiences and occasional supportive moments of her undergraduate years. She struggled through her youth with attention deficit disorder and depression. The daughter of "The Citadel's most decorated living graduate," the young woman was determined to prove herself by breaking the gender barrier at the college. She never grew accustomed to the media attention focused on her, extending from freshman Hell Week to the senior Ring Ceremony. Although threats from outsiders and harassment by fellow male cadets followed her for the three years of her compressed college experience (1996-1999), she stoically faced the dissenters, achieved noteworthy standing, and refused to withdraw. The book is written with clarity and energy. Black-and-white family photographs, personal memorabilia, and letters are included. Mace is a survivor who seems to have had more to prove to herself than society. Nonetheless, readers interested in women's firsts may be interested.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
Pat Conroy author of The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides, and Citadel alumnus, Class of 1967 Nancy Mace has written a wonderful, timeless memoir of the great test to become the first female graduate of The Citadel. Her book is provocative, hilarious, illuminating, and true. It is also a love letter to her college and the best book about The Citadel ever written.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.95(d)
1060L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Prologue: Remembrance

The room was small and white, filled with battered tan metal furniture. To my right was a double rack with two thin mattresses and a wool blanket, Citadel blue. The room smelled of shoe polish, mildew, and tobacco spit.

I stood rigidly at attention, chin pressed against my throat, eyes straight ahead, forehead fixed in a frown. My uniform clung stickily to my body, damp in the muggy Charleston air. A few feet away, a muscular young man in a gray uniform was pacing up and down. We were the only two people in the room.

Finally, he stopped in front of me, put his face a few inches from mine, stared intently into my eyes, and began to speak. I could feel his hot breath on my throat.

"Mace, I know why you are here. I know all about your past. I have heard the rumors. I know why you came."

My throat constricted, and the familiar anger welled up inside. "Asshole!" I muttered in my head. "What a jerk!"

Then, leaning even closer, he considered me seriously for another moment and said, "I respect your decision to come here. I know what you're trying to do. I understand."

He started to say something else, thought better of it, and finally dismissed me to return to my quarters. As I saluted him and stepped out into the sultry evening air, I looked up at the white galleries towering above me. Tears of rage stung my eyes. "The hell you know why I'm here," I thought. "The hell you do. Nobody knows. Nobody but me."

Copyright © 2001 Nancy Mace

Meet the Author

Nancy Mace entered The Citadel in 1996 and after three years became the first female graduate of the South Carolina military college. She is the daughter of Army Brigadier General James E. Mace and Dr. Anne J. Mace, Ed.D. Currently she works with a management consulting firm. Nancy lives with her husband (also a Citadel graduate) in Fort Bennington, Georgia.

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In the Company of Men 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It just makes you want to strive more and more for something. I now look at things alot differently and don't give up on things so easily. In fact.. I auctually thank her because I have seen an imporovment in my grades :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked that she was the first woman to graduate from the Citadel. THat proves that women can do anything men can. I dislike that the guys treated her differently because she was a woman. I learned to not let anyone get in teh way of your dreams. Yes, if you would like to become a part of the Citadel then I suggest you read this book. Women that want to become a cadet in general. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Nancy Mace is brave enough to go to the Citadel and graduate. I dislik it and I know I would never go tehre but if you want to be disciplined, go there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was good but on the other hand it was awful. She accomplished her dream of becoming the first woman to graduate from the Citidel and that is great and all but she complained way too much. I don't know why she had to make all the outrageous exaggerations about the racking and harrassment because she knew what to expect when she came to the Citidel and if she couldn't handle it then she shouldn't of gone there. In my opinion, the only reason Nancy Mace entered the Citidel was for attention. She knew she would get attention by applying for the Citidel and she was loving every minute of it. I would never recommend her book to anybody and due to her selfishiness she probably discouraged a lot of women to join the Citidel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think 'In the Company of Men' is a good book. It educates and tells people about the Citadel. What I didn't like is that it talks all about herself. From what I know she exaggerates some stuff. I learned that The Citadel can educate you and discipline you like in the military. I would recommend this book to people who want to know more about The Citadel. This book teaches you to value your friends and family. I think Nancy Mace is brave for trying something new whick she knwe would be a very difficult task. In my opinion people should have made a Citadel for women so there would hve been no pfroblems. The Citadel is a great place for education and discipline. If you are willing to wrok hard, you should go there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I will recommend this book to other people. This book gives a true account of life at the Citadel. Nancy Mace is a very strong, talented woman. I admire her for what she accomplished. The book taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to. The Citadel is a wonderful school and it is a wonderful thing to be a graduate from that school. I loved this book because it was a true story of a girl's experience at the Citadel and the struggles and triumphs of going there. I would give this book 4 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was good. It shows that women are strong too. I met Nancy and she is a real nice women. I recommend this book to all it shows what its like there and what taditions they have. she tells what it takes to graduate from the Corps at the Citadel. It explains the requirments you need to survive the cadre. she tells about all the herassment she went through as a women at the citadel and what she did to get respect.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book very muchseeing as i want to go to the citadel. I like how Nancy put in every little detail. I enjoyed learning how hard knob year is and how a typical knobs day is. I would recommend this book only if you are interested in going to a military college. I think that people interested in the citdel and alumuis would really enjoy this. I think this book teaches you noot to let other bring you down and try to end your dream. I see Nancy as some one that is strong, confedent, and willing to do what it takes to succed in life. I enjoyed learning about the citadel and am looking forward to going there when I go to college.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the principle of the it and the setting of the book because I want to The Citadel then to the millitary. I learned that all the racking of the Citadel will cause you to be emotionaly croke. I would recommend this book to all ages because of a goil in life to do but the only reason I would not is all the cursing in it. I think more of the high schools would enjoy it. The lessons that I think is respect your elders and listen. I feel great about Nancy Mace because of the harrasment that she went though. I feel good about the Citadel because it teaches you respect and discipline because that is what must people need to learn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book about Nancy Mace.On some parts I got really interested in it some parts I did not.She is a role model for me because I might want to join the Citadel when I get older.I think that is good that she was one of the first women to join the Citadel.I think it was really hard to deal with all that racking.I think she is a really good person.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I dont think they should of picked on her cuz she was a girl.I would recommend the book cuz it is a good book.I learned that even when you are having a hard time with something never give up.I think Nancy is a good writter.However I think it is wrong how they criticized her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I am not a Citadel grad, I know alot about the Citadel thanks to this book. If anyone, male or female, is thinking about attending the Citadel they should defiuitely read this book. I loved her acount on how she got through a difficult situation despite her diversity. We all have something to learn from Nancy. we should also respect her point of view, even if we dont agree with her opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book,all except for the bad language. I understand that we all hear those words every day, but we shoudn'thave to in a book targeted toward teenagers. I learned from this book that you can do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be as long as you try and believe in yourself. I think people that don't think they can do something just because someone else thinks they can't should read this book. I think Nancy Mace was very brave for going to the citadel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. I think Nancy became a better person after she attended the citadel. She did a good job at explaining the hardships of cadet life. I think she was very truthful at telling how her life was, as being the first female citadel graduate. I would rate this book a 3 or 4 because it was an interesting and good book, but i did get bored a couple of times. I would recommend this book to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the book was okay. It was some what interesting. Most of the time during the story, I got bored with it. Sometimes, I was interested. I didn't feel that the book told about her whole time at the Citidel. It mainly told about her Knob year. I would have liked to have learned more about when she was an upperclassman. I wanted to know how she racked the new knobs. Near the end of the story I started to loose interest and wanted it to be over. The end dissappointed me and That is why I only gave it 2 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the book because she explained everything that she talked about in the book very closely in detail. Why i didn't like it though was because she didn't tell us about her sophmore through senior year. I learned many things about the Citadel such as the rules of the Guidon and what the knobs have to go through to pass their freshman year. I liked the book because overall it is a very good entertaining book to read. Many people would like this book especially Citadel graduates and people interested in this kind of material. It taught many values such as patience and humility etc. I feel she is a good person with good virtues and values. I feel is was a really good book with great vitures and it teaches great values.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my review is about the book a women at the citadel and I liked it alot but the reason I voted 4 stars is all the cussing and all the abuse they seemed to get but overall it was good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I also am a Citadel grad, and I am truly glad for Nancy's account she has given us here. The Citadel experience is a very personal one for everyone that attends the school. There are very few accounts that graduates usually relate, especially in forms available to the general public. One should not view Nancy's book as a timeless classic written by a great author (and criticize it so), but instead as an insight into her thoughts and experiences of not only her time at the Citadel, but through her life as well. In this light, if you are interested in the Citadel it is a great story- where not very many exist. Any person who writes about the Citadel receives a lot of criticism from the Citadel community (Possibly no one more so than Pat Conroy himself). It's great to have her story documented, especially since Nancy was such a key figure in the Citadel's history. I graduated when the school was all male, and was opposed to the co-ed decision feeling it took away a lot of the schools uniqueness. I am glad that the school still brings in high quality people such as Nancy Mace. It was commonly believed at the time that the first women (especially the very first girl) who attended the citadel only did so for publicity reasons- Nancy's story made me feel as if she attended the school for the right reasons, and this is why she did very well at The Citadel and afterwards.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hi folks, If you truly want to know about the Citadel and what goes on there, first you need to talk to a grad, then visit the campus. Nancy Mace, to all them men that graduated there is a disgrace, she got it easy. Now if you truly want to know how a women can hack it at the citadel, talk to Petra L, She is currently in the Marine Corps. she is a credit to the Citadel, unlike Mace who is a joke. I should know I am a Citadel Grad.