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In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel Paperback


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In the Company of Men: A Woman at the Citadel + Sword Drill + The Citadel and the South Carolina Corps of Cadets (SC)  (College History Series)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689840039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689840036
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

PW called the chronicle of Mace's experience as the first female cadet ever to graduate from the Citadel a "narrative studded with hard-hitting details. Ultimately a story of triumph." All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In this autobiographical account of one of the first two female graduates of The Citadel, Mace relives both the grueling emotional experiences and occasional supportive moments of her undergraduate years. She struggled through her youth with attention deficit disorder and depression. The daughter of "The Citadel's most decorated living graduate," the young woman was determined to prove herself by breaking the gender barrier at the college. She never grew accustomed to the media attention focused on her, extending from freshman Hell Week to the senior Ring Ceremony. Although threats from outsiders and harassment by fellow male cadets followed her for the three years of her compressed college experience (1996-1999), she stoically faced the dissenters, achieved noteworthy standing, and refused to withdraw. The book is written with clarity and energy. Black-and-white family photographs, personal memorabilia, and letters are included. Mace is a survivor who seems to have had more to prove to herself than society. Nonetheless, readers interested in women's firsts may be interested.

Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on August 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Having just completed Philippa Strum's Women in the Barracks: The VMI Case and Equal Rights about the court cases leading to the "assimilation" of women into the Virginia Military Institute, I was eager to look at the story's next chapter and dive into Nancy Mace's account of her time at The Citadel (it was VMI's defeat in the Supreme Court that prompted The Citadel to admit women like Mace). With some of the caveats noted by other reviewers -- notably that the book skips over two-thirds of her time at the school -- I found this a very worthwhile read.

I don't often get into "juvenile literature," which is how this book is categorized. In fact, the last such book I read was Battle Dress, Amy Efaw's fictionalized account of her first year at the US Military Academy, a title to which "In the Company of Men" bears certain obvious similarities. Some of the things other reviewers have considered lacking in this book -- insufficient legal context, not enough sociological analysis -- can, I think, be explained by looking at for whom Mace was writing. Having read Strum and Brodie about VMI, as well as Catherine Manegold's tendentious In Glory's Shadow: The Citadel, Shannon Faulkner, and a Changing America, I too hope to see some of these issues addressed first-person on an adult level. But that's not to take anything away from this book.

Nancy Mace's story is well written and inspirational.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on July 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
In 1999 Nancy Mace became the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, a military academy in Charleston, SC. The Citadel is steeped in tradition --- a tradition that included a men-only admissions policy until a court order forced the school to admit a woman in 1995. That woman, Shannon Faulkner, lasted only one week. When her turn came, Mace was determined to make it to graduation. IN THE COMPANY OF MEN: A Woman at The Citadel tells her story bluntly and honestly.

Most of IN THE COMPANY OF MEN details Mace's first semester at The Citadel. Freshman year is the most challenging year at The Citadel --- which is saying a lot since no year there is a walk in the park. Freshmen at The Citadel are referred to as "knobs" --- a reference to their shaved heads --- and are forced to live under the "fourth class system," which greatly restricts their freedom and allows upperclassmen to make their lives miserable in a variety of ways. The year is difficult for all who enter The Citadel, but for Mace and the three women who entered the school with her, the challenge was infinitely increased.

The school, its administration, students, and backers were all faced with hard questions. How short should a woman's hair be cut? What sizes do the uniforms need to be? How do you deal with a soldier who menstruates? How do you keep women knobs safe in an atmosphere where they are resented by their classmates, by upperclassmen, by alumni, and --- most oddly --- by the wives and girlfriends of Citadel students past and present? None of these questions were hypothetical for Mace. As she addresses them in her book, she does a fine job relating not only the actual occurrences, but her own emotions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Les Bn on December 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Nearly the entire book covers first semester of Nancy Mace's freshman year. This is the only book in print that accurately and fairly portrays The Citadel plebe system - the good, the bad, the ugly. Of course, it is concerned to a great degree with her experience as one of the first four woman in a place where many didn't want her. Things were made much tougher for her by having rotten roommate and a father who came in as an unpopular Commandant during her second semester.
When Ms. Mace reports an upper-classman in her cadre letting her know he wanted her out, she later reports the cadet becoming her strongest supporter behind the scenes, after observing her good attitude and abilities. Unfortunately, several book reviews report only the initial threats, and miss the point, that the cadre was harsh and seemingly unreasonable at the time, but when anything was seriously wrong (e.g., getting ill, or out-of-line harassment from non-cadre cadets), they would look out for her, carrying out their duties in a professional manner. Also, that they ultimately reacted to her attitude of trying hard, rather than their own views on coeducation.
The book skips most of her last two years, picking up just a few incidents of senior year - receiving her ring, Ring Hop, and graduation ceremony.
The target audience appears to be high school students who are thinking about choosing a college. The book will warn off those who would not like The Citadel, and attract those who wish to prove that they can hack it. She certainly lays out the difficulties, but also the pride and tight friendships that result from the plebe system. It shows that knob year is difficult and frustrating, but achievable by a typical 18-year-old who puts out maximum effort.
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