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In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous…
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In a Time of War: The Proud and Perilous Journey of West Point's…

by Bill Murphy

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This book is a must read for all civilians and policymakers especially. It outlines the experiences of the class of 2001, the 'Golden children', who have graduated from West Point. Their stories, and the stories of their families is uplifting, crushing, and concerning all at the same time. Murphy does an excellent job of making the reader truly feel the ethos of what this experience is like. Once you pick it up, you won't put it down. ( )
  Brent.Hall | Apr 12, 2011 |
A tribute to national service and personal sacrifice. We are, of course, still very much "in a time of war," and Bill Murphy's book is about as current as one can get as an inside look at the lives - and deaths - of the young men and women who chose to give at least a part of their lives to serving their country. As Murphy follows closely the careers of several of the West Point grads of 2002, it becomes increasingly clear how much sacrifice is involved. While it is true these "kids" got a first class education out of the deal, not all of them signed on for a war too. But they didn't flinch. They did what they had to do and they honored their contracts for serving at least five years after graduation, even though the principals in this book often end up, like Will Tucker and Drew Sloan, serving more than one tour in a combat zone. (Tucker served three tours in Iraq, and unwilling participant in the "stop-loss" program.) And this is not just the story of the Academy grads themselves. You also get to know their wives and girlfriends, and bear witness to their anxieties, fears, and sometimes grief, because not all of Murphy's subjects survive this unanticipated combat duty. It is very difficult to read about these lives, because they are full of hard decisions and painful episodes, like Sloan's horrific injuries in Afghanistan and his long painful recovery, which included multiple surgeries over more than a year's duration. And yet these kids - I know I shouldn't call them that, but when I look at the pictures in the book, they all look so very young and innocent - are all, I think, shining examples of what this country is capable of producing. They are, to a man/woman, extremely proud of their service, even the ones who chose to leave the army after their 5-year obligation. I am a veteran of the Vietnam era, but was lucky; I never saw combat. It was a terrible time, but there was something very different at work then. There was a draft. Military service was more universal. Now, with the all-volunteer army, our soldiers are seeing multiple tours of duty in the war-torn areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. It takes a toll - physically, mentally, emotionally. There is a horrible "unfairness" about these very few absorbing the horrors of war on behalf of the many. There is also something that tastes very badly about companies making money by selling signs, decals and magnets of "support our troops," "whatever that means," as Murphy says. And it galls me to see perfectly healthy young men everywhere who are quick to urge our country to war, and who support Bush and his so-called "pre-emption doctrine" wholeheartedly, but who have never served their country and never will. And I even hear a lot of them complain about not being able to find a good job. Well, here's a job for you, guys. Go sign up and put your money where your big mouths are. I should apologize for these kinds of angry thoughts, I suppose, but it's hard to see a whole generation that whines and complains about their cushy lives and don't feel they owe their country anything! I hope the next administration in Washington puts some plan into effect that will require at least two years of national service of some kind from every able-bodied young person in America. There, I got that off my chest. The lives and sacrifices of Todd Bryant, Drew Sloan, Dave Swanson and Will Tucker - and all their classmates and the men they command - should be held up as examples. I also think George Dubya Bush should be compelled to read this book. Too late, I know, but he should know how many lives he cut short and screwed up by rushing America into this horrible misguided mess that is the Iraq war. Bill Murphy gives us an intimate look into the lives of some of America's best and brightest young people, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. This book will make you weep, but read it. These kids need to be remembered. ( )
1 vote TimBazzett | Apr 30, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080508679X, Hardcover)

The dramatic story of West Point’s class of 2002, the first in a generation to graduate during wartime

They came to West Point in a time of peace, but soon after the start of their senior year, their lives were transformed by September 11. The following June, when President George W. Bush spoke at their commencement and declared that America would “take the battle to the enemy,” the men and women in the class of 2002 understood that they would be fighting on the front lines. In this stirring account of the five years following their graduation from West Point, the class experiences firsthand both the rewards and the costs of leading soldiers in the war on terror.

In a Time of War focuses on two members of the class of 2002 in particular: Todd Bryant, an amiable, funny Californian for whom military service was a family tradition; and Drew Sloan, the hardworking son of liberal parents from Arkansas who is determined to serve his country. On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Todd, Drew, and their classmates—the army’s newest and youngest officers—lead their troops into harm’s way again and again.

Meticulously reported, sweeping in scope, Bill Murphy Jr.’s powerful book follows these brave and idealistic officers—and their families—as they experience the harrowing reality of the modern battlefield. In a Time of War tells a vivid and sometimes heartbreaking story about courage, honor, and what war really means to the soldiers whose lives it defines.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Documents the experiences of two West Point cadets whose class was the first in a generation to graduate during wartime, in an account that traces the first five years of their post-graduation service on the front lines.

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