Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point

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9780801862939: Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point

This new paperback edition of Stephen E. Ambrose's highly regarded history of the United States Military Academy features the original foreword by Dwight D. Eisenhower and a new afterword by former West Point superintendent Andrew J. Goodpaster.

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Review:

Duty, Honor, Country: the motto of the United States Military Academy has resounded for more than 200 years. Stephen Ambrose charts the history of West Point from its origins in the Revolutionary War--when students attached to engineering and artillery regiments studied the rudiments of strategy, but mostly came and went as they pleased--to the academy's time of crisis during the Vietnam War. Ambrose's narrative centers on West Point's superintendents, the Army officers who emphasized both tradition and innovation over the years--men such as Sylvanus Thayer, who commanded from 1817 to 1833 and who introduced customs that are still observed today; and Douglas MacArthur, who joined personal flamboyance with a deep-seated commitment to martial, academic, and athletic excellence. (Among MacArthur's other contributions was his codification of the "honor system," a set of self-policing regulations that distinguishes West Point from any other nation's military colleges.) Ambrose does not gloss over the academy's less exalted moments, especially the frictions brought on by the Civil War, when many Northerners accused West Point as a whole of being proslavery. Writing in an afterword that brings the history of the academy to the present, former superintendent Andrew Goodpaster confronts such matters as the honor code scandal of 1976 and the cultural changes brought on by the admission of women to the academy in the same year. Yet this book is a fitting celebration of an institution that has been of central importance to the American military. Originally published in 1966, at the start of his career, Duty, Honor, Country shows Stephen Ambrose's skills as researcher and popularizer, skills that he would go on to develop in such later books as Undaunted Courage and Citizen Soldiers. --Gregory McNamee

Book Description:

A New York Times bestselling author writes about West Point.

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