The first trade paperback edition of the New York Times best-seller about West Point's Class of 1966, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Atkinson.
This is the story of the twenty-five-year adventure of the generation of officers who fought in Vietnam. With novelistic detail, Atkinson tells the story of West Point's Class of 1966 primarily through the experiences of three classmates and the women they loved--from the boisterous cadet years and youthful romances to the fires of Vietnam, where dozens of their classmates died and hundreds more grew disillusioned, to the hard peace and family adjustments that followed. The rich cast of characters includes Douglas MacArthur, William Westmoreland, and a score of other memorable figures. The West Point Class of 1966 straddled a fault line in American history, and Rick 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.