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The Lords of Discipline

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  16,121 ratings  ·  802 reviews
A novel you will never forget...

This powerful and breathtaking novel is the story of four cadets who have become bloodbrothers. Together they will encounter the hell of hazing and the rabid, raunchy and dangerously secretive atmosphere of an arrogant and proud military institute. They will experience the violence. The passion. The rage. The friendship. The loyalty. The be
Paperback, 512 pages
Published February 24th 1997 by Bantam (first published 1980)
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Best Southern Literature
45th out of 799 books — 1,903 voters
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Community Reviews

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I'm a bit scared that I won't be able to describe how much I love this book and that I’ll screw up this review. Every time I have the same problem with Conroy. Every time when I finish reading ''him'' I have this properly deep ache. I get spoiled and I find myself measuring almost everything I’ve read so far.

I even get angry because I know it will take a long and thorough research to find book(s), author(s) that will replace me this Pat Conroy feeling. And I never do, I never did. The major pro
Apr 21, 2012 George rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: E V E R Y O N E!!!
This would be the 3rd unforgettable book I've read by Mr. Conroy in the past year, and to date. I just love reading his work. There is no other way to put it. He just simply writes, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. He has an unflinching capacity to be so brutally honest it often hurts. But it is the greatest pain one can recieve from a great novel. The amount of passion, pain, and pure adrenaline within the pages of this book will not let the reader put this o ...more
Feb 15, 2010 Buck rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Buck by: Linda Griffin
I was introduced to this book at Pat Conroy by my high school algebra teacher. She was reading the book just after it came out and suggested that we all read it. I think I may have been the only one who did.

I immediately fell in love with this work. Conroy's descriptions of Charleston are priceless. Some of my favorite quotes come from this book.

I return to this work yearly to explore my old friends once more and with each reading I find a nuance that I had overlooked in the past.

From the openin
Steffany Cartellone
I love Conroy's humor in this book, the way he uses it to diffuse some incredibly raw scenes. I cried so hard when Pig walks down the line and the men turn their back on him. And then the train. Ugh. It absolutely broke my heart. I love all of Conroy's books for their descriptions, for introducing me to the beautiful South, and for his characters. He has strong people with strong issues which makes them real. And the men are vulnerable and strong and that's not something you see in many books. T ...more
Caley Rogers
Feb 09, 2008 Caley Rogers rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want a glimpse into what goes on at a military college.
Fantastic book! Pat Conroy does an excellent job conveying the life of a student at Carolina Military Institute (based on the Citadel). Conroy has a wonderful writing style that really enables the reader to visualize everything in the novel, from the atmosphere of Charleson to the vicious beating the cadets endure. The book is told from one boy's point of view and begins with his senior year, but has flashbacks to his earlier years. While you may flinch at the violence that is tolerated at such ...more
Oh wow, just wow.....I know that I should be the president of the "I love Pat Conroy fan club", but this book was just in a word fantastic. I went through the gauntlet of emotions while reading this story. Mr Conroy remains in my mind the consummate story teller. He lays his emotions out in the open and fills his characters with such reality that you would know them if they walked into a room in which you were seated.

This book about a young man's coming of age while enrolled in Southern military
Dec 10, 2007 Drew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of exceptional literature
This is quite simply my very favorite book of all time. Pat Conroy draws upon some of the events of his days as a cadet at The Citadel to tell the story of Will McLean, a senior who attends the fictional Carolina Military Institute in Charleston, South Carolina on a basketball scholarship. Will is charged with shepherding the Institute's first black cadet, Tom Pearce, through his freshman year at CMI. In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1967, Pearce is being welcomed through the Gates of Legrand w ...more
Rare indeed is it that I, someone early to bed and late to rise, finds himself wide awake at 1:30am unable to even consider going to bed until the book being read is finished. This almost unbelievable scenario took place last night as I kept turning the pages of this book.

This is the 3rd or 4th Conroy novel I have read to date (I have my Losing Season on the shelf) and it is without doubt the best so far. The characters, the dialog, the quality of the plot, and the intensity of the writing is a
I read this book over the course of two days in September 2000. I could not put it down. It was recommended to me by a friend who attend The Citadel. I rarely read books as fast as I read this one. I highly recommend it.
This is one of my favorite Conroy books, though the subject matter isn't easyfor those of us who know The Citadel, but there's much that's true about it back in the day. It's a different place now, though.
My son read 18 pages of it and announced he knew who the best living author in SC is. I have multiple copies on my shelf as I believe in spreading a good thing. Some people, however, were less than thrilled with this book. It made it to a Banned/Challenged Books list. It was challenged in the
Patricia Kurz
Jul 02, 2012 Patricia Kurz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any Southern fiction fan, Conroy fans
Shelves: fiction-novel
Only because it's Conroy is it 3* -- else 2...

I know that this book is the foundation for most of Conroy's story telling, but I have to say, that perhaps because of his immaturity in his writing career at that time, it is poorly edited and a bit self-inflated.

The descriptions of some of the initiations of the military school were so repetitive, so boring, that after a while, one did not experience the horror any longer. The plight of the African American kid could have been so much more deeply
Annie Myers
A powerful, moving story written in Conroy's trademark poetic style. Some parts of it were harder for me to read than even the descriptions of mental illness in The Prince of Tides, or the Holocaust story woven through Beach Music. I found it immensely disturbing that young men could be so cruel to one another. I was impressed by the way Conroy captured and portrayed the inconsistency and confusion of the main character, Will, bearing in mind that Will was a young man between the ages of 18 and ...more
Andrew Walker
I read this book at the recommendation of my younger brother, an active duty Marine.

John, my brother, told me this was by far the best book he has ever read, so I felt I owed it to him to read one of the books that possibly inspired him to enlist.

This is my first review of a book so it will appear scattered, disjointed, and likely ludicrous, but Conroy's The Lords of Discipline is anything but.

Following the young Will McLean and his journey through the Carolina Military Institute (CMI), a fictit
The title of this book makes it sound like Fabio should be posing on the cover. However, the book is absolutely riveting. It's about Will Macleans's trip through four years of The Citadel, the military college in South Carolina where Pat Conroy did in fact go. It's structured around his task of trying to assist the first black cadet to enter the citadel, but is mostly about Will's friendships and battles against the more sadistic members of his class.
The narrator, Will McLean, attends the fictional Carolina Military Institute in Charleston. Irish, and not rich, he is an outsider and finds life as a “knob” (first-year cadet in training) at the Institute to be brutal. But he finds solace in three boys who become his great friends: Tradd St. Croix, an “old Charlestonian” (from a very rich and respected family); and Pig and Mark, two brawny, loyal boys of Italian descent. He also respects Colonel “Bear” Barrineau, who asks McLean to look out for ...more
I adore Pat Conroy to a degree that is fanatical. He writes the most beautiful sentences about the most heartbreaking yet real human relationships I've ever read in contemporary fiction and non-fiction. This is my favorite of his novels, but I haven't read them all and that could change as I read more and as I age. Perhaps I love this book so much because all the conflict and action centers around a tight-knit group of friends, or maybe it's because the central characters are in college--as I wa ...more
Another great book by Conroy. This book is a little different than Beach Music and Prince of Tides, it's about Will, a student at a millitary college. (not too hard to figure out it's supposed to be the Citadel) A black student is accepted to the school for the first time and the whole school is up in arms. The parts about the hazing rituals are described in such brutal detail that I'd get anxious reading them. The part about class and old money was a little goofy to me but I guess it's a real i ...more
There are sections of this book I could recite from memory. Two very different passages -- the walk of shame and the big basketball game -- were regularly done as "prose" pieces in my high school drama class, and as I read them, I could hear my classmates' 15-year-old voices in my head. (Hey Larry and Chris.)

Other than those, though, I'd forgotten a lot of the specifics. And I'm so very glad.

Conroy stunned me all over again, nearly two decades after I'd gotten to know Will McLean the first time.
Jim B
The audio book was unabridged, narrated with regional accents by Tom Stechschulte.

Powerful use of language and beautiful sentence structure. Depth of character development (especially the central character McLean's insight into his own character) was masterfully done.
I particularly enjoyed this frank description of the joys and evils of an all male school.
Not for everyone are the descriptions of hazing or McLean's coming of age sexually.
Jun 05, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: thriller
This book is a harrowing thriller about four cadets at an unnamed military academy that closely resembles The Citadel. Although there is a murder involved, the treatment of the plebes by the upperclassmen and the punishments meted out for not striving to be just like everyone else are some of the scariest scenes in the book. This is a ripping good story, and anyone who loves the South Carolina Low Country will particularly enjoy it.
Mar 14, 2008 deLille rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: southern
I was born in Charleston, went to school at the College of Charleston back in the '80s and dated several Citadel cadets. What I found so incredible about this book was the number of characters in the book that I knew! Okay, I don't really "know" them, but the characters in the book are amazingly authentic, so much so that I can't help but to think that I knew some of the people in the book in real life.
An excellent read. Pat Conroy is an amazing writer and story teller. This is a fictional account of a cadet at Carolina Military Institute in the late 60's....based on the author's own experiences at The Citadel during the same time. While difficult to read and even more difficult to digest at times, this should not be missed. Riveting!!!
Apr 26, 2008 Claudia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Claudia by: Danny
One of my students was being recruited to play football at the Citadel, the fictional setting for this book. I told him I couldn't let him go until he read this book. Conroy's said this book is the reason for years he was not welcomed to the campus. Now it's included in the curriculum. Deep, rich, eloquent. I loved this one.
My English teacher once said that a good book is one a person can read at different stages in their life, and find different things about the book each time it's read. This is one of those books. One of the most incredible tales of unrequited love, friendship, betrayal, and honor I've ever read.
Pat Conroy's brutally honest account of life in a South Carolina military college as a budding freshman "plebe" up to its bittersweet conclusion as an "Institute" graduate haunted, sickened, exhilarated, and intrigued me. It's a coming-of-age tale quite obviously inspired by Conroy's own experiences as a graduated cadet of the Citadel in the American south. This was my first Conroy novel, highly recommended by my friends who happen to be fans of The author's body of work. I have to say I was not ...more
Gail Cooke
A frequent Audie finalist and Earphones award winner Dan John Miller delivers a riveting narration of the book many have called an American classic. Also a film actor and songwriter Miller gives eloquent voice to protagonist Will McLean who attends the South Carolina Military Institute, which is a fictional military school and said to be inspired by Conroy's personal experiences at The Citadel.

Not only is THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE extremely well performed but a new introduction read by Pat Conroy
Cindy Griffin
The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy follows Will McLean and his three roommates through their life at a military college, The Institute, in Charleston, South Carolina in the early 1960s. This is one of those books that I always wanted to read, but just never got around to it. Once I started, I could not put it down. This book draws on every emotion as these very different young men come together to share the joys and tragedies of their four years together. The good times are as good as they ge ...more
Pat Conroy is to words as Beethoven is to music. In Lords of Discipline, Conroy spins a tale filled with torture, degradation, lies and deception all in the venue of a US military academy whose purpose is to create men of honor. The time is 1966 in Charleston, North Carolina. The story revolves around 4 boys at the "Institute" - roommates. They have created their own cacoon and deep friendships in spite of all that is going on around them. The protagonist, Will Mclean, has suspicions of a clande ...more
I recently re-read this book for the third or fourth time. I should probably have known that I would end up as a teacher, given that I love books about schools. Since reading this book I have read other Conroy books, icluding his memoir "My Losing Season" which happens to be one of my favorite books. The two constant themes of Conroy's books are 1)scars of childhood abuse and trauma and 2) male characters who are locked in a cycle of self hatred and self righteousness. After a while, the second ...more
James Seawel
One sign of a good author is that they reel you in and make you wrestle with them and their writing. Beach Music was the first of his books that I read and I pretty much just read it and accepted it for what it was - fiction. Since then, however, I go 'round and 'round with him. I want to call him up and argue with him and tell him how wrong he is. One of the major themes in his coming of age stories is that of the little guy, the common man respecting authority in his quest for acceptance. This ...more
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Pat Conroy is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs and seven novels, including The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline. Born the eldest of seven children in a rigidly disciplined military household, he attended the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. He briefly became a schoolteacher (which he chronicled in his memoir The Water Is Wide) befo ...more
More about Pat Conroy...
The Prince of Tides Beach Music South of Broad The Great Santini The Water Is Wide: A Memoir

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“Happiness is an accident of nature, a beautiful and flawless aberration.” 1426 likes
“I wanted to become the seeker, the aroused and passionate explorer, and it was better to go at it knowing nothing at all, always choosing the unmarked bottle, always choosing your own unproven method, armed with nothing but faith and a belief in astonishment.” 88 likes
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