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Matters of Honor

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  20 reviews
From the acclaimed author of "Wartime Lies "and "About Schmidt, " a luminous story of a brilliant but haunted outsider driven to transcend his past.
At Harvard in the early 1950s, three seemingly mismatched freshmen are thrown together: Sam, who fears that his fine New England name has been tarnished by his father's drinking and his mother's affairs; Archie, an affable arm
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Hardcover, 307 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 211)
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Andy Miller
This novel begins in the early 50s with the narrator meeting his two roommates in his freshman year at Harvard and ends with two of the survivors in their seventies. Despite the time span, the book never really leaves Harvard. One of the narrator's roommates is Henry, a Jew from Poland who survived the Holocaust by hiding in a friend's room for two years--much of the book deals with his assimilation into WASPish society, the discrimination he often faced and the eventual consequences.

Interesting
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Sally
Hmmm I liked reading about what going to Harvard was like in the 50's, but the main characters were a bunch of New York intelligentsia snobs who thought they were above being snobby, which made them even more snobby... rather depressing. It seems like it was somewhat in imitation of a Robertson Davies book, what with the intellectual old man reflecting too much on others lives because he's lonely and got nothing else to do, only not nearly as good.
Ron Charles
Either one of Louis Begley's careers would be an extraordinary accomplishment. As a partner at a New York law firm, he maneuvered giant deals through the treacherous landscape of overlapping European legal systems. And as the author of eight novels, he has won wide critical acclaim, been nominated for a National Book Award and served as president of the PEN American Center. Much of his fiction -- beginning with his first novel, Wartime Lies, published in 1991 when he was 57 -- has been marked by ...more
Edith
Most of the story is set in Harvard, but it’s less about college life than it is about the search of identity and life-long friendship.
Early in the 1950s the three protagonists first meet when they move into the same suite of the college dormitory. Sam Standish – the narrator – is the son of an old New England family who hasn’t yet come to terms with the rather recent discovery that he had been adopted as a baby by his parents who belong to an impoverished branch of the Standishes and who are s
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Ferris
#4 Summer Sub Club read with Beth.....This is a sleeper of a novel. On the surface it is simply a tale of four post-WWII Harvard freshmen and their coming of age with typical life struggles in the arenas of career, family, and relationships. However, Begley's writing subtly draws the reader into a much bigger theme which is self-invention and re-invention. We meet Sam, our narrator whose parents were not up to snuff by many standards. We meet Archie, who is a burgeoning alcoholic who refuses to ...more
Diane
This book follows three young men who are college roommates at Harvard during the early 1950s. One is from an old New England family, but has conflict with his parents. Another is a Jewish refugee from Poland, trying to fit in to a largely gentile society at Harvard. The third is from a military family, and has traveled around throughout his life.

The characters were interesting and well-written, and the book provided interesting insight into the world of upper-class New England in the 1950s. It
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Don
This is the first book by Louis Begley I've read.

The book begins in the mid-50's, at Harvard, and, as a novel, it's really a bit old fashioned.

The story centers on Henry White, a Polish Jewish immigrant who goes to Harvard, and his efforts to adopt the prevailing WASP culture of Harvard. It follows White and his roommates and friends through the years.
Jeni
I liked this book- the time period was kind of interesting, following three guys from post-WWII Harvard to present day. I liked the characters, but I rated it a 3 because it was kind of slow reading. More like a 3 1/2. I am interested in trying out more of this author's books.
Julie [Kaskade]
If you don't mind time moving around oddly, [mainly large jumps ahead in time with no/little explanations] then this is worth the read. I felt tied in to some of the characters, and intrigued by most of them. Worth reading.
Nancy
I loved this book for about 3/4. Then it got a little bogged down. And I still have a couple of questions. Foremost, who were Sam,s real parents? Was he gay?
Marilyn
This book was pretty interesting until the last few chapters. The ending made no sense to me--I expected a lot more.
Valerie
Flat story with flat characters: Polish Jew goes to Harvard in 50s, excels as a lawyer, then drops out.
Ellen Robin
The only book I've ever read by Louis Begley - really enjoyed it. Memorable characters.
Pia Thompson
AWFUL. I will never read anything else by this author it was so awful.
Ellen
Pulled this off the new-fiction shelf at the library.
Lu
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read
3 friends from Harvard 1950's southern France
Sabine Fischer
it`s slowly, wonderful and it spells
Beth
Rating: 4 1/2 stars.
Jesse Baer
Jesse Baer marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2015
Amy
Amy added it
Apr 05, 2015
Joanna Menda
Joanna Menda marked it as to-read
Mar 22, 2015
Jesse Baer
Jesse Baer marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2015
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Louis Begley is an American novelist.

Begley was born Ludwik Begleiter in Stryi at the time part of Poland and now in Ukraine, as the only child of a physician. He is a survivor of the Holocaust due to the multiple purchases of Aryan papers by his mother and constant evasion of the Nazis. They survived by pretending to be Polish Catholic. The family left Poland in the fall of 1946 and settled in N
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More about Louis Begley...
About Schmidt (Schmidt, #1) Wartime Lies Memories of a Marriage Schmidt Delivered (Schmidt, #2) Shipwreck

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