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The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966
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The Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,213 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
The first trade paperback edition of the bestseller about West Point's Class of 1966--the generation of officers who fought in Vietnam--by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Atkinson. of photos.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 1989)
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Larry Bassett
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, history
This is a story of the United States Military Academy at West Point class of 1966, a class that graduated into the war in Vietnam. It is non-fiction, about real people and real events. We are introduced to several cadets and follow them and their cohort through twenty-five years. Women were first admitted to West Point in the fall of 1976 and that is a part of the story. The same year that 109 young women entered the academy, an honor code cheating scandal engulfed the school touching over 150 c ...more
One of the hazards of being Santa Claus in a library is that one sees all sorts of interesting items in between promises for Barbie dolls and AK-47s. I happened to run across Rick Atkinson's Long Gray Line: The American Journey of West Point's Class of 1966 in the Forreston Public Library. This is just a wonderful book. Based on scores of interviews, Atkinson spent 10 years gathering material. The reader gets to know the pains and pleasures (very few indeed) of 4 years at West Point. The class ...more
Three and a Half Stars

I was born in 1968. My father was born in 1944 and had already been to Vietnam before I was even conceived. Growing up I didn't give too much thought to my parent's generation. The so-called "Baby Boomers".

However I was in awe of the WW II generation. My grandfathers and great-uncles fought in that war. That was the "Good War". My parent's generation fought and lost in South Vietnam and gave us the seventies and Jimmy Carter. I was young and simplistic in many ways. But I
William Ramsay
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My brother is a great reader of books on military history. When he finds one he really likes, he tries to get me to read it. I usually defer, but sometimes, if I'm searching for something to red, I'll relent. The Long Gray Line is a case in point. It is about the West Point class of 1966, which had the misfortune of graduating into the Vietnam war. At first glance it would seem a book about the war, but it is far more than that. Atkinson, who is a fine writer, follows the class from 1962, when t ...more
Andrew Hillegass
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-history
Possibly one of the best books I've read. The book details several members of West Point's graduating class of 1966. One that suffered one of the highest casualty rates of all classes to serve in Vietnam. Mr. Atkinson does a wonderful job setting the mood that we've all experienced in our lives "freshly at our doorstep" atmosphere. He then takes that wide eyed worldview and bathes it in fire of real life. The harsh reality of the world slowly beats away the wide-eyed feeling we ...more
Melvin Nez
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I was intrigued when I heard about this book and was encouraged by my brother to read it. So, I had put it in my "to read" category for the time being. What had started me in REALLY reading this was when I took a history class and the instructor mentioned that he had graduated West Point, class of 1966, and had served in Vietnam as an officer. To me, getting myself immersed in this time period had become more vivid, as I had genuinely felt one step removed from the cadets and soldiers that Atkin
Mar 07, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Vietnam chapters look amazing...but West Point itself is a slough of boredom. I haven't read a single American military bio or memoir in which it's interesting, not even in a sadistic Young Törless kinda way (it's strict! there's no booze! Or women! Except MacArthur's mom, who lived nearby to keep him out of "trouble"!). All I recall Grant saying is that he hated it. Not even James Salter, whose blurb for The Long Gray Line partly convinced me to add the book, writes well about West Point; i ...more
Nov 14, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
I found this in a volume of Reader's Digest condensed books.I am against the Vietnam War but this book was very interesting and dramatic.It follows the West Point class of 1966 all the way from West Point to the war zone. The individual stories about the cadets at West Point and how many of them would go on to lose their lives in battle make for compelling reading.On the other hand,the sufferings of the people of Vietnam are not mentioned at all.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is about a group of men who share an era with me and I was drawn to the book to see what paths they followed. Otherwise, the story is not for everyone. I observed a long time ago that professional soldiers, just like everyone else, had to confront the same life issues as everyone else, e.g. divorce, marriage, child-raising, career, and losing friends to war. The folks in this story are no different. The graduates of this “school for soldiers” are varied in personality, capability, and o ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Pulitzer prize winning author Rick Atkinson has achieved something remarkable with this book. It is an epic portrayal of a generation's experiences via the prism of the US Military Academy at West Point and their lives beyond the wide-eyed days at 'Beast Barracks' in 1962.

Following the Class of '66, and focusing on half a dozen cadets in particular (though the engrossing cast is actually of dozens), Atkinson takes the reader on an emotional journey from the first days of induction, through their
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Born in Munich, in the Federal Republic of Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He holds a master of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. He is the best-selling author of The Long Gray Line, a narrative account about West Point’s class of 1966; Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War; and An Army at Dawn , the ...more
More about Rick Atkinson...
“Like any army moving from war to peace, this Army was entering a period in which it would search high and low for its soul. Only the vanquished truly learn anything from the last war, according to an ancient maxim, and the issue now confronting America was whether the defeated nation and the nation’s vanquished Army would learn anything from Vietnam.” 1 likes
“In the fall of 1969, a hundred Vassar students arrived from Poughkeepsie to preach peace and distribute daisies. They left a few hours later, frustrated by their inability to debate successfully against the cadets, who were well provisioned with statistics and syllogisms. One cadet graciously accepted a proffered flower, then ate it. Another excused himself from the picket line discussion by claiming that he was late for “poison gas class.” 0 likes
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