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In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America's Longest War

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In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America's Longest War [Hardcover]

Naval Academy Class of 2002 , Joshua Welle , John Ennis , Katherine Kranz , Graham Plaster
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 15, 2012
★ A Los Angeles Times Best Seller! 
They were walking to class on 9/11 when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were struck. These midshipmen were soon to graduate from the Naval Academy into a nation at war, the first officers to do so since Vietnam. The men and women of the Class of 2002 lost their youth to a decade of deployments and their innocence on battlefields in distant places. Each story provides a glimpse into the lives of modern day Navy or Marine Corps officers who were faced with unique challenges and sacrifices. Their stories poignantly explain the trials of war and reveal a world many don't understand. Refreshingly honest, their narratives take readers on a journey from Annapolis to the far corners of the world to experience the unique challenges of operations at sea, on the land, and in the skies. Themes of leadership and service are on display throughout. The editors spent three years inviting their classmates to open up their hearts to share what they endured on the frontlines. The end product is a superb collection of experiences that depict what Admiral Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, calls 'the next greatest generation.' Serving as a virtual podium for the voices of those unlikely to write about war, these first-person accounts of real-world operations are written with humility and respect for those they served with, bringing deserved recognition to all veterans of this so called 'Long War.' With a foreword by David Gergen.

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Editorial Reviews


This is a must read for all Americans--an up close and personal account of duty and sacrifice by graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy in Iraq and Afghanistan. You´ll stand a little straighter when you mingle with these remarkable fellow citizens. --Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation

To the Class of 2002, I thank you for sharing your stories and opening America's eyes to the challenges faced by your generation, which in my view really is the next 'greatest generation'...My advice to you is simple: Continue to listen, learn, and lead in the decades ahead. Your families and your fellow citizens are counting on you. --Admiral Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

About the Author

Joshua Welle envisioned the book while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. As USNA 2002 Class President he was hearing the details of friends in harm's way and their stories needed to be told. Executing that vision required classwide teamwork; the heavy lifting was done by co-editors John Ennis, Katherine Kranz, and Graham Plaster. Marketing efforts were led by Elizabeth Kreft, Anita Brenner, and Patrick McConnell. There are another 30 co-authors who wrote and helped during the three year process. Over 100 other members of the Class of 2002 supported the book as well.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612511384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612511382
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Run, don't walk to secure a copy of this book! July 31, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Painstakingly researched and elegantly written account of the events that reshaped our nation. I have been waiting for a book like "In The Shadow Of Greatness" to be crafted for years. A perspective that combines several facets of firsthand experience, strength and hope. It is magical when you are able to be transported to these events through the descriptive narratives of the writers. "In The Shadow Of Greatness" delivers.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Class of 2002 has put its marker down in a book with the perfect tone: a class diary, reverential of the sacrifices of the troops and so many of their classmates, full of the "everyday" events that make military service in these times so memorable. Think of it as this class saying to the world "we promised when we graduated that we'd do our jobs well - here is how we kept that promise." The men and women in the book were present for some of the great and terrible moments of the war, and some of the sweltering nights, sand-storms, storms and endless watches that give the sea services their distinctive pride. Every Naval officer of the past 10 years will see something reminiscent of their own service in the Marine Corps or Navy; every Sailor from past times will get a chance to see what their successors have been up to; every civilian wondering what the men and women from the Academy have done for their country will find the narrative here.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Read August 2, 2012
This is an important and inspirational series of 33 essays from the U. S. Naval Academy class of 2002, describing their contributions and challenges in the war on terror and other vital issues of the modern American military. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Millenial Leaders August 14, 2012
The 2002 graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy (along with their compatriots from West Point and Air Force) were beginning their senior year when America was attacked on 11 September 2001. They were the first class to be commissioned into the military service while America was involved in a hot war since the classes of the early 1970s faced combat in Vietnam. When they raised their right hands and swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, they understood that many of them would be in armed conflict before their first operational assignments were complete. In the Shadow of Greatness tells the first-hand stories of the USNA Class of 2002. As you turn from chapter to chapter, you can hear the young, strong, patriotic voices of men and women who volunteered to serve their country.

Full disclosure: I am also a graduate of the Naval Academy, class of 1975. A month after I retired from active duty, the class of 2002 was commissioned. In their stories, you witness young leaders applying the lessons from the "Leadership Laboratory" in Annapolis to the real world problems of their ships, aircraft squadrons, and Marine platoons. They make you proud!

Some Americans are concerned that the millennial generation is made up of shallow, selfish, materialistic kids who think of nothing deeper than the latest tweet from their favorite vampire actor. This book will convince you otherwise. With a wide range of authors telling their individual stories, the writing is uneven--but every contributor successfully tells of the dedication and character that are common denominators of our latest generation of warriors. When they step into leadership roles--in uniform and in civilian life--our Navy, Marine Corps, and country will be better for their service.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immediate Inspiration August 13, 2012
"Must read" is an understatement. Pick this book up any time, flip to any story, read for 10 minutes, and feel immediately inspired. This collection of experiences changes your perspective on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, Sacrifice, and Service from America's Longest War intimately frames the 10+ year conflict in first-person from the leaders who have faced an unexpected challenge. Imagine, in your senior year of college, finding out that you're beginning your military career in the wake of our nation's worst terrorist attack. This team has met the call of duty, risen to become battle-seasoned veterans, and is now passing those lessons on in the military, civilian, and political world. It is remarkable to see the diversity and strength of this class. I am impressed, inspired, and honored that these brave men & women were willing to share their stories. I will continue to re-read whenever I need motivation!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't put it down - perfect Christmas gift August 13, 2012
This book will inspire your soul. These heroes share their humble stories in a very real, unpretentious way. I loved the format too...short stories with so many real-world experiences to draw from. Stories of being flipped upside down in an armored humvee after an IED attack, shivering while holding a rifle on Christmas day in Iraq waiting to snipe a terrorist in action, and flying in to rescue downed crews...I honestly can't believe how much our military does these days and this book is a testament to these brave Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Airmen. Make sure to get this book for any of your family members or friends who either want to learn more before going into the military or have ever served themselves. They will love it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, engrossing and accessible. August 15, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for any student of history and society, and will be fascinating to even the casual reader. Through a series of heartfelt, personal vignettes told by the graduates of the USNA Class of 2002, a moving story emerges of the young men and women who will lead this country over the next generation. It is fascinating to contemplate that this next generation of leaders, unlike the last, has spent their entire time in uniform at war, which will give them a unique perspective on the margins of power and diplomacy as they mature into the leadership of this country. Their sacrifices and valor under extreme pressure should sober a country that simply went about its business while these kids went to war. This deeply compelling book stands as a stark counterpoint to those who fear that the current American generation will not be found worthy of the "Greatest Generation." The class of '02 makes one hope that our nation is worthy of them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great stories from the first graduating class from the Naval Academy to face life after 9/11.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars gave as a gift
I did not read the book but I gave it to my son. He is a naval Academy Grad and he really like the book. A great read in his words.
Published 8 months ago by Alan
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness indeed!
Service beyond the duty. Thank you for sharing your stories. Proud USNA mom and sponsor mom ! Thank you to all.
Published 9 months ago by Kim McCarthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! A must read!
Very interesting book that was hard to put down once I started. The editors did well blending the many stories of sacrifice, leadership, and service. Read more
Published 11 months ago by S. Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you have no interest in the military, read this book!
I bought the book because I'd received a Superintendent's Appointment to the US Naval Academy Class of 2002 after completing a course of study with the Naval Academy Foundation. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robert Kroeger
5.0 out of 5 stars Be grateful for those who willingly serve our country.
The quality of the men and women who serve in the military, and the sacrifices they make, is brought to light in this new era of terror. Read more
Published 14 months ago by John Herzfeld
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Shadow of Greatness - USNA 2002
Nice tribute to some outstanding USNA Grads both from their service and subsequent career pursuits. It goes to show you that USNA grads can do anything well.
Published 14 months ago by Louis G. Fifer
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons learned from "In the Shadow of Greatness"
My son is a new plebe at the Naval Academy so I was very interested to read the personal stories of mids who have gone on from the Academy. Read more
Published 15 months ago by JVWOLF
2.0 out of 5 stars Some Warrior Tales, plus some not so much
This book was loaned to me by a friend, and, as a USNA 71 alum, I wanted it to be a great read. It wasn't and isn't. Read more
Published 15 months ago by James Rehkopf
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is in the shadow?
As I picked up this book, I though the title was a little pretentious. It does not say who is in the shadow of greatness, but it implies that the class of 2002 is in the shadow of... Read more
Published 16 months ago by H. T. Johnson
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