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Gray Girl: Honor isn't always black and white [Kindle Edition]

Susan I. Spieth
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.99
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

2014 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award Winner! 2014 Eric Hoffer e-book fiction Winner!
Cadet Jan Wishart has been falsely accused of an honor violation at West Point. She believes her accuser is also a predator, guilty of a much more serious crime. At the honor trial, Jan must defend herself and try to reveal his guilt. Yet, two hundred years of fraternal brotherhood stand in the way.
The worst is yet to come when Jan and her roommate sneak out after Taps one night. Their discovery in an unauthorized area is more likely to get them kicked out—or killed.
Jan realizes the grayness of West Point is not only in its buildings and uniforms. Even honor isn’t always black and white. Relying on her wits and a few friends in the hostile environment of the U.S. Military Academy, Jan discovers the value of friendship, the genuine marks of leadership and her own inner warrior.

Editorial Reviews


Jan Wishart becomes an instrument for change at an institution that wants to remain the same: The United States Military Academy at West Point. A sexual assault is the catalyst for Cadet Wishart pushing against the grain of this patriarchal institution. This fast-paced book is easy and enjoyable to read, yet smart and heady in its delivery by shining a bright light on the virtues of honor and friendship. This entertaining novel on cadet life illustrates the power and importance of storytelling by documenting a culture of institutional misogyny in hopes that history does not repeat itself.

About the Author

Susan I. Spieth graduated from West Point in 1985 and served five years in the Army as a Missile Maintenance Officer. After completing her military service, she attended Seminary where she earned a Master of Divinity degree. She is an ordained clergywoman in the United Methodist Church, having served five churches as Pastor/Associate Pastor for seventeen years. Susan and her husband have two children and live in Seattle, WA. This is her first novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2681 KB
  • Print Length: 271 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,680 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime and Mystery at West Point January 1, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With Gray Girl, Susan Speith transported me back to the US Military Academy, at a time when women were still finding their way into the Corps. The author so successfully captured the essence of West Point in the early 80's that I developed a love-hate relationship with the book. I didn't read it straight through in one sitting. There were times I put it down as it brought me right back to plebe year, and frankly, some days I didn't want to relive plebe year. It hit close to home, the good and the bad of it. Although it is a work of fiction, it reads like a diary. Susan's attention to detail in her novel is born of the place, and offers the reader a true behind the scenes feel for the West Point plebe experience. Susan leaves no stone unturned in revealing the mystery of the goings on behind the gray granite walls of the Military Academy. I have read other works on cadet life, but this one does the best job of combining fictitious events with the true setting. The characters are so well developed, as are the relationships they have with each other, that you really get to know them and develop empathy for what they are going through as first year cadets, away from home for the first time. The West Point experience is unique, and it is very hard to describe to someone who hasn't gone through it, but now there is a book, this book, which very expertly does the job of at least telling the story of the first year. And we can only hope to follow these characters into their remaining years as cadets. The mystery that takes place in the book caused me to carry the book around even when I knew I was too busy to read it. I wanted it with me just in case I could sneak a few more pages, maybe at a red light. Read more ›
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read November 17, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A compelling read, Gray Girl gives you one West Pointer’s fictional account of what it was like to be a cadet at the US Military Academy in the early 1980s. The West Point experience is very intense and conveying what it was really like to others is extremely difficult. Cadet/Army terms so familiar to West Pointers are laden with meaning and emotion and strong memory, but how to convey them to others without overdoing details is a challenge. Spieth effectively shows not only the ardors of Beast Barracks and plebe year for everyone, but also the misogyny, sexual harassment, and even rape that were the lived experience of many female cadets. Spieth also conveys the importance of friendship, cooperation among classmates, and perseverance that are all hallmarks of West Point. She brings her characters to life, and they stay with you after you are done reading. “Duty, Honor, Country” is not just a motto to West Pointers, and Spieth makes that clear.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and gripping November 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Gray Girl" is a book I could not put down.  The characters are well developed and believable.  The trauma women experienced at West Point made my heart ache.   The ending was a complete surprise.
I look forward to future books by Susan Spieth.  
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did not want to put this book down November 9, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am most likely biased as the author is a classmate from West Point, but I think this was a great story! Reading it brought back so many memories of being a plebe, and like Jan, the protagonist in the story, not all of those memories were good. I thought Susan did a great job of describing being a freshman at West Point and liked that she dealt fairly with the academy. I think she summed it up very well in her postscript when she said that West Point "may be the only college you grow to love long after you leave."
Great first novel! Am looking forward to the next one.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Intrigue at US Military Academy November 3, 2013
By Hergy
Format:Kindle Edition
As a mother of a West Point Cadet, I had a ton of fun reading this novel. I learned more about the military academy lifestyle reading this book than I have from my son who is finishing his third year. I think even readers without any connection to West Point would enjoy this aspect of the book.

Gray Girl is a captivating mystery in a historically unique setting. The main protagonist, Jan, is a female cadet with the fiery independence and dogged persistence every mom would want her daughter to possess, especially if she was accepted into one of the first female classes attending West Point. After being subjected as a 'plebe' to a fair amount of overzealous hazing bordering on harassment, Jan becomes embroiled in an Honor Board which jeopardizes her very existence at the academy. She must defend herself against an upperclassman, one she is convinced has committed an offense far more serious than harassment. Will Jan make it through her plebe year or will she be driven out by her fellow male cadets who don't want her there?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars poignant, inspiring and delightful all at once November 5, 2013
By J. day
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sat down and read cover to cover - couldn't put it down. Was a great story about strength, friendship and life through the eyes of a completely candid character with great self awareness you couldn't help but like and admire... Hope there is a year two, three and four...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! February 2, 2014
A great read.... fast-paced... engaging.... authentic.

To those of us who experienced West Point in the 1980's, it is a trip down memory lane.

To those who are unfamiliar with the military academies, it is a glimpse into a unique subculture.

I was especially impressed by the way Spieth portrayed the spectrum of relationships between the women cadets and their male counterparts. These relationships ranged from antagonistic to supportive, with many shifting over time from initial resistance to acceptance as an equal.

Great job Susan!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read and believable.
I would have given it five stars but I thought that there was too much jumping around in the time-frame. Read more
Published 5 days ago by A. Richtmyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction is stranger than the truth.
I was there as a male officer when the first women were admitted to West Point in 1976. This fictional story could have been true based on what I learned from many of the women in... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
Interesting look at West Point by an insider.
Published 22 days ago by gary
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read for anybody
I really enjoyed the story, but initially read it as a former Army Officer who likes West Point. The author really hits all the nuances those early females lived and then added a... Read more
Published 25 days ago by P. F. Gay
4.0 out of 5 stars Gray Girl is an interesting read.
I really enjoyed this book since my son graduated from West Point. While there is literary license taken, the descriptions of the academy,, it's honor code, and the difficulties... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Cindy Rock
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good
Having a hard time getting into this book. Maybe when I came back to reading it I might like it better. Seems kind of childish right now.
Published 1 month ago by Pat
4.0 out of 5 stars Gray Girl
I enjoyed the story line. It kept you locked into the story. The book gave a pretty accurate depiction of plebe year at the military academy.
Published 1 month ago by gloria Vermef
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read!
If you have been in the military or just want to know more, this is the book! It's a shame that this has or could have happened at the Point, but it's still a unique and special... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this outstanding novel of sacrifice
As a male military college graduate and retired Army lieutenant colonel with over 24 years active service, I thoroughly enjoyed this outstanding novel of sacrifice, self awareness,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Horn
3.0 out of 5 stars Gray girl
Lived at West Pilot for 5years (before women were admitted. )I remember the mindset about the possibility of female cadets. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nancy C. Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Susan I. Spieth grew up in New Hampshire and was appointed to attend West Point in 1981. She was graduated and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1985. After serving five years in the Army as a Missile Maintenance Officer, she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in 1994. She served five churches as Pastor/Associate Pastor for seventeen years. Susan and her husband live in Seattle and have two adult children.

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