The Long Gray Line
The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966
The New York Times bestseller about West Point's Class of 1966, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Rick Atkinson.
"A story of epic proportions [and] an awesome feat of biographical reconstruction."—The Boston Globe
A classic of its kind, The Long Gray Line is the twenty-five-year saga of the West Point class of 1966. With a novelist's eye for detail, Rick Atkinson (author of the Liberation Trilogy) illuminates this powerful story through the lives of three classmates and the women they loved—from the boisterous cadet years, to the fires of Vietnam, to the hard peace and internal struggles that followed the war.
The rich cast of characters also includes Douglas MacArthur, William C. Westmoreland, and a score of other memorable figures. The class of 1966 straddled a fault line in American history, and Atkinson's masterly book speaks for a generation of American men and women about innocence, patriotism, and the price we pay for our dreams
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.
One of the best books I have read. Great history and always keeps you interested.