From its founding in 1842 the Citadel has been steeped in tradition. There have been changes through the years, but the basics of the military code and the plebe system have remained constant. Citadel graduate Tom Worley has crafted this collection of short stories about life at the South Carolina military academy during the 1960s. While the stories are fictional, they are inspired in part by his days as a student on the college campus. With humor and dramatic clarity, Worley reveals the harshness of the plebe system, how success is achieved through perseverance, and the character-building benefits of a Citadel education.
These seventeen stories are told from the perspective of two main characterscadets Pete Creger and Sammy Grahamwho are members of F Company. By turns surprising and entertaining, the collected stories range from the emotional and physical trials of being a knob in the plebe system, the brutality of hazing, and the fear and fun of company pranks, to the friendship and camaraderie the system fosters and the tremendous pride shared by those who wear the coveted Citadel ring.
Best known for its Corps of Cadets, the Citadel attracts students who desire a college education within a classical military system in which leadership and character training are essential parts of the overall experience. Any romanticized notion of military bravado is quickly shattered the moment students set foot on campus and their parents drive away. Many cadets are left wondering, "What have I signed up for?" Worley's stories shed light on the pain and the pride, explaining why, he says, "most cadets at the Citadel hated the place while they were there and loved everything about it once they'd graduated. They were bonded together for life. Perhaps that's the greatest thing the Citadel did for them."
|Publisher:||University of South Carolina Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Tom Worley, a 1968 graduate of the Citadel and former member of the F Company, practices law in Charleston, South Carolina. He and his wife, Nancy, have two children and four grandchildren. Worley is currently working on a new collection of short stories and a novel.
Table of Contents
Author's Note vi
Knob Year Begins 1
To the Showers 14
Colonel Sydney and the Sweet Potato Sermon 22
Doughnuts and Chocolate Ice Cream 30
Company Barber 38
Knob Rebellion 48
The Tong Gray Line 56
Echo Taps 72
F Troop 80
The Hand of God 93
Command Decision 103
I Wear the Ring 109
Captain Schierick 116
Encounters with the Boo 124
A Mutual Friend 136
What People are Saying About This
"For those who've attended the Citadel, they'll recognize--either with smiles or winces of remembrance--these stories. For those who know Citadel grads this book is a glimpse into the world that shaped the Citadel grad they know. Tom Worley, with a storyteller's eye for detail, takes us to a place many of us will never see firsthand and, for those who lived it, a memory they'll immediately see as their own."--Cathy Pickens, author of Charleston Mysteries and Southern Fried
"When I read Tom Worley's powerful collection of Citadel stories, it was like reading my own novel The Lords of Discipline as told from a different point of view. The Citadel marks its graduates in both glorious and troubling ways. The plebe system shapes us with its dark, indelible matrix forever and the Citadel experience becomes the most commanding force in our lives. Better than most anyone, Tom Worley tells us why."--Pat Conroy