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Understanding West Point and Leaders of Character and Thomas Jefferson:  What Cadets Must Do at West Point, and Why, as Explained by Thomas Jefferson's West Point Secret, Revealed. . . (New 2008 Issue)

Understanding West Point and Leaders of Character and Thomas Jefferson: What Cadets Must Do at West Point, and Why, as Explained by Thomas Jefferson's West Point Secret, Revealed. . . (New 2008 Issue)

4.4 10
by Norman Thomas Remick

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6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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Understanding West Point and Leaders of Character and Thomas Jefferson 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The premise of the book is wonderful investigating the establishment, history, and philosophy of the United States Military Academy through the thoughts, letters, and recorded actions of the world's great leaders. Other authors such as David McCullough with '1776', and Michael Shaara with 'The Killer Angels', have written captivating historic books with a very similar approach. Unfortunately Mr. Remick falls far short of the mark by just barely scratching the surface of this fascinating subject, substituting his own paraphrasing when recorded words would have been far more powerful, and filling large portions of the text with simple, contrived, and unconvincing conversations between fictional and not particularly engaging characters. Accompanied by simple cartoons, his conversations between protagonists are along the lines of: A proper English gentlemen: ¿The audacity of those colonists how they twist the laws of our beloved King. I like to fancy myself a real Englishman and I can assure you I was shocked when I read of the rabbles spiteful behavior at Boston Harbor. Why can¿t they all just fall in line?¿ His equally proper friend: ¿I couldn¿t agree more my good man. Clearly when the minority rise up and dare to defy the Crown YOU KNOW THAT SOMEONE IS UP TO NO GOOD! A proper English gentlemen: ¿Amen my good fellow. Have you the time for a cup of tea at the De Bunk Café? I¿d very much like to hear your thoughts on other similar issues I expect they conform very closely to my own in all substantive regards¿ It¿s not all bad and certainly the book as many redeeming values. It is accessible and can be read and enjoyed by essentially anyone with a decent fifth grade education. And Mr. Remick¿s work does fill a void by illuminating the very interesting historical debate about the merits of a military academy in a newly formed populist nation at a time when similar institutions were devoted to advocating and upholding the rule of the landed gentry. In the years immediately following the American Revolution a popular view for many in the fledgling united colonies was of an American kingdom lorded over by an American King. Thomas Jefferson¿s notion that the attendees of a United States Military Academy would instead pledge devotion to a set of laws - the Constitution ¿ defied the view of the monarchists and was a revolutionary advancement of political and philosophical thought that formed the foundation of the spirit of West Point, and ultimately of our nation. While this book may be enjoyed by youngsters up through the middle school years, I personally found it of very limited value as a source of serious information or critical thought. And while I had high hopes for this book, especially after reading the many five star reviews, I finished the book feeling disappointed that it did not live up to it¿s potential as a scholarly work. Mr. Remick has filled a void for the casual reader of the history of West Point, however, the historic importance of America¿s first and foremost military academy deserves a truly in-depth and scholarly accounting of its establishment, history, and philosophy. Mr. Remick's work falls short.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Absolutely American', 'The Long Gray Line', 'Duty Honor Country', etc. as topical books about West Point are OK. However, if you are interested in understanding West Point, as I was, this book by Norman Thomas Remick is the only one that will enable you to do that. Having read all the books on West Point, if I had to suggest just one of them to readers, I would enthusiastically suggest this one. Likewise, if I had to suggest just one book about Thomas Jefferson to readers, this would also be the one. The book is extraordinary. Because of the centuries-old secret connection between West Point and Thomas Jefferson that the book synergistically unearths, and then explains, you are actually getting two books in one here, a book about understanding West Point and a book about understanding Thomas Jefferson. It ends with a section that gives an inside view of what current cadets do on a day to day basis and explains why by drawing on everything that came before it in the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. There. All my thoughts in four words. It was so unusually educational that I gave copies to the President and the Dean of our College. The book was well received by them, also. Every American should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a pleasure to read. The background philosophy, drawn from the books in Thomas Jefferson's library that he himself read (an education in itself, and therefore, the same that Jefferson himself was exposed to), sets up the historical and philosophical roots of character and leadership so important to understanding America, Jefferson, and ultimately, West Point. I enjoyed the way the book also set up true history and philosophy within the overall thematic framework of a fantasy by taking us on a journey through the millenia with a Congressman called Harry and a Guardian Angel called Thomas (Is it Thomas Jefferson? I think not, but, you can read the book and decide for yourself). If you do read the book, you will see that Mr. Remick obviously took great pains, throughout, to reveal a previously unknown, but ever-existing, historical and philosophical chain that strongly links together character, leadership, America, Thomas Jefferson, and West Point. The Epilogue (ending chapters) continues this linkage by integrating everything in the book with contemporary life, training, and education at West Point, and, talks about ways of creating greater access to West Point to applicants from all walks of life who are interested in the military as a profession. I enjoyed the creative presentation that made easy and accessible to everyone what has always been information considered so difficult that only scholars could understand. Now, everyone is in the loop. Mr. Remick sets the presentation up in everyday conversational dramatic dialogue, like the script of a play or movie, complete with American vernacular slang spellings, punctuations, and other devices that give you the feel that you are part of the story, that you are there. I think his intentionally doing that was quite a brave decision, and must have been difficult to accomplish. You have to actually read the book to understand what I mean. I thought the book was fantastic, a rather brilliant job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As friend of West Point and ardent Jefferson reader, I have read this book twice. The first time was for the wisdom, knowledge and pleasure. And, believe me, if you read the book you will see it was a pleasure, not in any way an ordeal. The second time was to use as a tool in 'heart-to-hearts' with our children and others to help teach them morals, ethics, and character --- Virtue, as Mr. Remick says in the book. The background philosophy is not the history of philosophy, as a previous reviewer has incorrectly stated, but the philosophical and historical underpinnings that define character and leadership. The Introduction, and the subtitle, both tell us we are reading what Thomas Jefferson himself read and wrote, as they were the author's sources. The book is a journey through history by Congressman Harry and Guardian Angel Thomas. If you decide to read the book, you will see that Thomas is not Thomas Jefferson, as a previous reviewer incorrectly stated. The book integrates America, Thomas Jefferson, West Point, character, leadership, and virtue all throughout, from beginning to end. And, if you read the book, you will see that, far from being offbeat and unlinked, as a previous reviewer incorrectly stated, it is obvious the author took great pains to bring into clear focus how they are all interrelated. The ending sections relate the previous parts of the book with present-day life, education, and training at West Point ----The Way It Is. And, in the lone chapter in which the author seems to give his opinion, he talks about ways of creating greater access to applicants from all sources and walks of life who are interested in the military, not in what a previous reviewer incorrectly stated. Lastly, the author clearly states that he intentionally wrote the book with slang spelling and punctuation in American vernacular to make it read like we speak (not the usual prose, but like the script of a play or movie) in order to guide you through the script to make you feel like you are right there. It's not bad editing, etc. like a previous reviewer incorrectly stated. All I can say is, if you read the book, you will see what I mean. I find it to be outstanding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an ordeal to read. The author, who seems to have read every word ever written by and about Thomas Jefferson, takes the reader through the history of philosophy from early times to the founding of West Point. Episodes in history are recounted through dialogue, as if you were reading a script. The story is narrated by two imaginary characters, one of whom seems intended to represent Thomas Jefferson. Several aspects of the author's approach bothered this reader. The idea of channeling Thomas Jefferson's views in first person dialogue seemed an arrogant premise for a book. The text is punctuated with poems and other breaks in the story to advise the reader which 'virtue' is at play. Remick's cataloguing of virtues (e.g., obligation?) was offbeat, and did not link well with the narrative. The ending sections of the book are a platform to argue that most high level Army officer ranks should be reserved for West Point graduates, and that there should be only limited access to top officer ranks for other 'exceptional cases ... like the Colin Powells of the world.' On top of all, the book is badly edited, with many misspellings, poor punctuation and long, run-on paragraphs. I would not recommend this book to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Character/leadership/morals based epic of America, presented as easy reading, dramatic, movielike script in which Thomas Jefferson's philosophical world view explains what we stand for in America and its metaphor/microcosm, West Point. Books and writings from Jefferson's own library and archives are key sources of research. Great education for all ages, even Harry Potter fans. Now my favorite Thomas Jefferson book, hands down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book better than any other book I have ever read on Thomas Jefferson, and I've read most of them. The difference is, when you read this you are reading the very books Jefferson himself read and therefore learning the very things Jefferson himself learned, as well as, reading what Jefferson himself wrote. Not so-called "scholarly" opinions and interpretations, just the facts are scientifically proven and creatively presented. I have never seen any other historian do that. And, don't be misled by the title, "West Point". In this book, "West Point" is posited as a metaphor for "America" ----- West Point = America. Via the West Point metaphor, it's like you're hearing Thomas Jefferson himself clearly telling you his philosophy on character and leadership and education, his vision for America, and what it means to be an American. In my opinion, this unusual historical and philosophical (and well researched) book is the best kept secret on Thomas Jefferson. It's not your typical full-blown, boringly-detailed biography of Thomas Jefferson. It's more like a book "by" him rather than "of" him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gives the answers. At this time in our history when there exists this puzzling and, I think, mislead hatred and terrorism against America and Americans, everyone in America and all over the world should read this book to learn the truth about America and what it means to be an American.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not just for people interested in West Point. I believe it is so important, everyone in America should read it (if America's adversaries would read it, perhaps they would see the error of their ways). I think the book should be re-named, 'AMERICA: Character Leadership Education, A Book Developed From The Readings And Writings Of Thomas Jefferson', because in it West Point is really just a metaphor for America. The book is about civilization's 'march of reason' through the ages that culminates in the founding of a society (the USA) that uses the dreams and aspirations of the greatest secular and religious thinkers of all time. The content and storyline ended up being much more exciting and educational than I ever dreamed it would be at the time a friend of mine, a bug for reading all the books on the latest political and current issues, told me how much she enjoyed it, and suggested that a 'Harry Potter' and 'Wonderful Life' fan like me would also enjoy it because of how it uniquely uses fantasy to present true stories from history to the reader. The book had loads of information that I was either never taught in H.S. or college, or never really understood. Now I understand everything. For example, I learned what I never knew about how character, leadership, and determining right and wrong counts. I learned what Thomas Jefferson and our other founding fathers really wanted for America regarding education, religion, slavery, true democracy, establishing 'ward republics', and preserving-protecting-defending our borders and homeland from terrorists of any kind. The book nicely fits everything together like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. You may not join Harry Potter, and friends Hermione and Ron, as they 'pass through the barrier' at the train station to board the 'Hogwarts Express' on 'platform 9 3/4', as you do in J.K. Rowlings' book, 'Harry Potter'. But, you do join another Harry, and his 'guardian angel' Thomas, as they take their journey through time to see the most exciting events that ever happened, and that, unlike in 'Harry Potter', are not only TRUE, but will make you smarter and wiser. It think every American should read this book to REALLY understand the United States of America and understand what it means to be an American. OUTSTANDING!