Cradle of Valor: The Intimate Letters of a Plebe at West Point Between the Two World Wars

Dale O. Smith, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $16.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-912697-80-2
Smith, a young man from Nevada, entered West Point in 1930 and found the experience so stimulating that he sent his parents detailed reports throughout his plebe year. This was the Depression era and although its effect was minimal at West Point, the Smith family in Reno was hit hard when the cadet's father lost his job. The parents' letters to their son, included in the collection, are moving in their self-effacing expression of pride and encouragement. The author provides a retrospective commentary on both sets of letters, and in the final chapter describes what happened in later years to each member of his close-knit family. The book is a vivid contemporary account of what it was like to be a first-year cadet at the ""old'' West Point, but it is also a tribute to the author's father. In the introduction Eisenhower explains why West Pointers have always considered themselves a breed apart. Smith retired from the Air Force as a major general. Photos. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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