Rated of 5
by Mary Ellen The Power of Literature
Since I have not had much exposure to military culture, this book gave me a new perspective on the impact of literature by illustrating how this field has had a longstanding tradition in the West Point curriculum. The author is a civilian instructor with impressive credentials who has been teaching English at West Point for 10 years.
She struggles with the issues surrounding the relevance of teaching an appreciation of literature at the academy, especially to young people who were likely to be deployed in a war zone after the start of the Iraq War. She makes a strong case for her subject area which gives her students the freedom to explore their own feelings. This is different from the other aspects of their West Point experience where they are expected to obey and where they face regimentation in all facets of their military training.
She also has some interesting thoughts about women in the military and her own role, which falls outside that of female cadet, officer or military spouse.
Rated of 5
by Laurie A Soldier Armed with a Love of Literature is Well-armed
In the context of teaching literature to West Point cadets, Elizabeth Samet addresses the persistent question, “Why read?” As strongly as she believes that she is arming them with something they need, she is fully aware of the responsive question posed by many cadets: “What’s the difference, ma’am? I’ll be in Iraq within a year anyway.”
Samet’s compassionate portrayal of the lives of West Point cadets introduces the day-to-day West Point life to the civilian reader. The personal details she offers about her students help the reader to see the cadets as individuals, rather than as interchangeable second lieutenants-to-be. When I reviewed the passages I had underlined, I noticed that most of those underlined passages were quotes of Dr. Samet’s students. She cared as much about her students as she cared about literature.
Samet is most successful when she combines the personal and the literary. Her allusions to characters and lines from her obviously vast reading are memorable when linked to the experiences of her students and colleagues. In particular, I expect to recall her analogy of the Ball Turret Gunner immortalized in Randall Jarrell’s 1945 poem to a colleague destroyed by an IED whenever I read Iraq war news.
Samet recognizes and develops the conflicting views of the citizen soldier and, generally, I was glad that she did not seem driven to take a point of view or tie her thoughts up with a neat bow. I very much enjoyed reading the first half of the book. Several of the later chapters in the book, dealing with religion, courage and sacrifice, however, lapsed into a stream-of-consciousness where she seemed to drift from one thought to another. These chapters suffered from the absence of a clear point of view and were much less readable than the chapters dealing with less elevated topics.
Rated of 5
by Carole Many Levels
High school students considering a military academy education and career will quickly find that they will be expected to tackle challenging literature - a good reading list for any academy-bound student. Military historians will find this book's concepts of actual combat and service emotions captured eloquently in centuries of literature - no matter which historical period or army they are interested in reading. For me, the personal level, where Ms. Samet gives us a peek at her experiences and those of her cadets, kept me spellbound. I wanted more! Maybe another book?
Judge rules unused Borders gift cards to be worthless(May 23 2013) Borders owes nothing to holders of roughly $210.5 million of gift cards that had not been used by the time the bookstore chain shut down, a Manhattan federal...