The Long Gray Line

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The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since its founding by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, the United States Military Academy, ``fortress of virtue, preserve of the nation's values,'' has exerted a powerful and lasting influence on its graduates. As revealed in this Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's eloquent and heartfelt narrative, the class of 1966 was subjected to oral and ethical pressures that were unique, partly because it was ``the first generation of West Pointers to join a losing Army,'' and partly because of the radical change in society's attitude toward the military during the latter years of the Vietnam era. Atkinson profiles a handful of representatives of that class, following them from their high-spirited cadet years, through the crucible of Southeast Asia and--of those who survived--into the hard peace that ensued. The book is a poignant, thought-provoking account of the struggles of young men who pledged themselves to ``Honor, Duty, Country,'' but found that living up to West Point's iron standards was difficult and in some cases impossible. 100,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; film rights to Warner Bros; author tour. Oct.
Library Journal
Atkinson joins a host of journalists and military men who have tried to explain the impact of Vietnam on the U.S. Army. His approach is to examine the experiences of the West Point Class of 1966, asking whether or not the traditional West Point dictum of ``Duty, Honor, Country'' is still relevant in the post-Vietnam era. Focusing on a half dozen or so cadets, Atkinson shows how their careers epitomized the problems faced by their generation and by members of their profession. During the quarter century after graduation, 30 members of the class died in Vietnam; survivors led competing factions of the movement to build a Vietnam War Memorial, commanded battalions in Grenada, and worked in the scandal-ridden defense industry. Atkinson provides a sophisticated, moving, and exciting journalistic account of the attempts of one West Point class to apply to real life the lessons they learned at the academy. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/89.-- James Marten, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671726744
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 1/10/1991
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 776

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    This place sucks.....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Excellent look at West Point life and the great institution of learning that it continues to be today!!!

    An exquisitely detailed journey down The Long Gray Line and particularly poignant look at the Class of 1966. It is so richly detailed that I can close my eyes and imagine myself (having also been there) walking the hallowed grounds of West Point! Rick Atkinson is one of our GREATEST historical writers!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Excellence in the military

    Every military officer should read this book about graduating into the Vietnam war. The book is the best one i have found on the academy life of cadets at any of the academies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    AMAZING

    I thought that it was a great book. Follows the class of '66 all the way through there lives!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2004

    Aaron, a student

    This book is one of the truly most novelistic history books I have ever read. The flow of the writing is fluid and ever engaging. Rick Atckinson has given us a yet larger panorama of the the unforgotten acts of courage and valor that characterized the fighting men in Vietnam. Uncommon valor was as common a virtue for the patriotic civilian soldier as for the veteran. These soldiers should never be forgotten. Anti-war protesters have condemned these soldiers for cooperating with their government like good civilians, have spat on them, rejected them, and for some, sadly destroyed the patriotic feelings that ever existed in them by making these brave soldiers question who and what kind of culture they were fighting for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    This Book Was Wonderful -- Couldn't put it down

    The writing itself was brilliant, and I really grew close to the characters themselves. How could you not? They were real people! I actually had the opportunity to visit West Point and see their graves. A must read. I'm a GIRL and I couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2002

    Two Stars For The Writing

    I give this book 2 stars for being well written. I found it quite boring, however. I also found it to be surprisingly negative. For example, I don't think it's the kind of book I would give to prospective students if I were in admissions at West Point.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    A Must read for anyone interested in Vietnam

    This is a fantastic account of the West Point class of '66, from Beast to the battlefields. This ranks with Timberg's The Nightingale's Song in explaining the personal accounts of Vietnam from the perspective of the products of our nation's military academies.

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