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Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through…

Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (2007)

by Elizabeth D. Samet

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I think I would have been able to appreciate this book more if I had read War & Peace...I've never said that about any other book.
Really though, this was an interesting read, if not completely spellbinding. At the very least it shows that soldiers are human like the rest of us, and have to deal with issues of conscience that few other Americans ever really consider. ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
Very deep and insightful but difficult to stay with, for me. I had to stop fairly often and let my mind catch up to be able to again payattention. ( )
  herbcat | Nov 19, 2012 |
a book about a literature professor at west point military academy. she weaves stories about her teaching experience and her students with examples from literature and her musings about the purpose of literature and reading, especially in the context of training young men and women for war. a really interesting study about how west point operates and an inside look into some of the people serving our country. i really enjoyed this book. ( )
  shannonkearns | Jan 8, 2011 |
This IS NOT a book about soldiers. It does, however, reflect on the writings of some more famous soldiers and men of war. Being well written, IT IS a memoir of a female teacher to an elite group of young Americans who themselves are introduced to media/literature while training for the impending Iraq invasion. Samet does offer some mild critiques about what she finds disconcerting and disheartening in the military culture for her students. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jun 4, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Elizabeth Samet, as a Literature professor at West Point, offers a great civilian view point into the world of military academies. Her use of literature to bridge the gap between herself, her students, and what they have and will experience is definitely worth a read. Not necessarily the most page-turning book ever, there are some point that drag a bit, but all-in-all a good read.
  peregrinator | Feb 25, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374180636, Hardcover)

Elizabeth D. Samet and her students learned to romanticize the army "from the stories of their fathers and from the movies." For Samet, it was the old World War II movies she used to watch on TV, while her students grew up on Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan. Unlike their teacher, however, these students, cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, have decided to turn make-believe into real life.
West Point is a world away from Yale, where Samet attended graduate school and where nothing sufficiently prepared her for teaching literature to young men and women who were training to fight a war. Intimate and poignant, Soldier's Heart chronicles the various tensions inherent in that life as well as the ways in which war has transformed Samet's relationship to literature. Fighting in Iraq, Samet's former students share what books and movies mean to them--the poetry of Wallace Stevens, the fiction of Virginia Woolf and J. M. Coetzee, the epics of Homer, or the films of James Cagney. Their letters in turn prompt Samet to wonder exactly what she owes to cadets in the classroom.
Samet arrived at West Point before September 11, 2001, and has seen the academy change dramatically. In Soldier's Heart, she reads this transformation through her own experiences and those of her students. Forcefully examining what it means to be a civilian teaching literature at a military academy, Samet also considers the role of women in the army, the dangerous tides of religious and political zeal roiling the country, the uses of the call to patriotism, and the cult of sacrifice she believes is currently paralyzing national debate. Ultimately, Samet offers an honest and original reflection on the relationship between art and life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:49 -0400)

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A West Point English professor discusses teaching literature to young men and women preparing for war, describing the changes that have occurred since September 11, what it means to be a civilian teaching at a military academy, and what books and movies mean to her students.… (more)

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