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The Lords of Discipline: A Novel Paperback – March 26, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381566
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (539 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For the listener who can persevere beyond the barrage of crude language used by most of the male characters in author Conroy's humane look at life inside a Southern military academy, the producer offers a stunning audio version of a popular work of modern American fiction (published first in 1980). The star of this production is narrator Tom Stechschulte, who provides an amazing array of nuanced voices, even making each of the several native Charleston characters distinctive by his intonation. By turns, Conroy holds up military ideals and savages the often brutal treatment of military school recruits. At once starkly realistic and lyrical, Conroy's diffuse prose ultimately lulls the listener into the rhythms of its episodic tide of plot devices. The sound quality of this unabridged audio book is supurb, as is the pacing and cover design. Highly recommended.?Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, N.C.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“If you are reading another book when you begin The Lords of Discipline, prepare to set it aside.”—The Denver Post

“Reading Pat Conroy is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel.”—Houston Chronicle

The Lords Of Discipline is, simply, an American classic.”—Larry King

“A work of enormous power, passion, humor, and wisdom [that] sweeps the reader along on a great tide of honest, throbbing emotion.”—The Washington Star

“Few novelists write as well, and none as beautifully.”—Lexington Herald-Leader

More About the Author

Pat Conroy is the author of eight previous books: The Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, and The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina. Photo copyright: David G. Spielman

Customer Reviews

Conroy's beautiful and lyrical writing style and intense plot and conflict make this a great novel.
From its humble beginning to its shocking ending, The Lords of Discipline is a book you will not want to put down as soon as you begin reading it.
I've loved all of Pat Conroy's other books, so I can't believe I waited until recently to read Lords of Discipline.
Judith C. Oswood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

207 of 213 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was reluctant to read The Lords of Discipline as I'm not much interested in books with military themes. But I finally decided to read it as I love Pat Conroy and it takes place in my favorite of all cities, Charleston, SC. Wow! Not only was I blown away, but I also have a new book for my top ten list.

Aspiring novelist and basketball player, Will McLean, finds himself a college student at the Carolina Military Institute (The Citadel--thinly disguised). Will was not interested in the military, but he promises his dying father that he will attend his alma mater. Will doesn't exactly excel in military studies, but he's a decent student, an athlete, and his professors and peers recognize him for his integrity and his sense of fairness. Still, this is not an easy time to be a student in a military academy--especially in the South. The Viet Nam War was raging, the military was unpopular and desegregation was knocking on the doors of Southern schools. The Fourth Class system is brutal at best, and most cadets will look on their freshman year and Hell Night as living nightmares. There are also rumors of a powerful and clandestine group of Institute students and alumni called The Ten. While nothing has come forward to prove their existence, the possibility of such a group casts a cloud over the Corps of Cadets.

Will and his roommates have survived the trials and tribulations of their underclassmen years. But circumstances change very rapidly. The first black student enrolls at the Institute and Will is asked to be a secret mentor to Cadet Tom Pearce. It quickly becomes apparent that a group of cadets is trying to run Pearce out of the Institute. Will steps in to intervene, and he discovers a truth so horrendous that this knowledge can bring down the Institute.
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88 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Walt Steinbeck on September 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Just a few days after I was admitted to attend The Citadel, over a decade ago, my mother picked up this book and read it cover to cover in no time at all. A couple days later she handed it to me, wishing that I would read it... and decide to attend college elsewhere. I read the book cover to cover, enthralled and fascinated the whole way through, and when I finished the last page my resolve to attend the school that had inspired this book had only grown stronger.

The Fourth Class System Pat Conroy describes in this book is entirely accurate, as he went through it himself and thus knew it first-hand. Much has changed since Conroy was there, but I can personally attest to the fact that the brotherhood he depicts in this story between the protagonist, Will, and his roommates is a perfect an example of the type of relationships that still evolve between cadets who share that same experience to this very day.

Conroy describes the difficulties the South Carolina Military Institute had in acclimating to racial integration in this novel. I can tell you that I attended The Citadel shortly after gender integration had been mandated by the federal district courts, and many of the same emotions that Conroy describes in this story were running through the Corps of Cadets during my tenure at the military college of South Carolina. The struggles of the school during my time there were not so much rooted in some terrible dislike of females, or even a gender bias as to the abilities of male versus female, but more a resistance to change of any sort... just like what Conroy depicts in The Lords of Discipline as the first black student attended college there amidst a tremendous backlash from within the Corps of Cadets (not to mention from many Alumni as well).
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is one of my alltime favorite books and I think Will is one of the most amazing, soulful and best developed characters I have ever come across in any novel. I read this book in college a few years ago after a close male friend of mine showed me a particular excerpt from it which described a professor of Will's at The Citadel. He was the passionate professor whom Conroy began describing by writing "he was the most brilliant scholar I had ever known. . . " Anyway, at that time a mentor of mine, my favorite professor (an English Prof) and good friend, had just been diagnosed with cancer and was told he had only a few weeks to live. I was devastated and wanted to express to him how much he meant to me and I wanted him to know what an amazing and inspiring professor he had been but I couldn't seem to find words that would do justice to how incredible he was.

Well, my friend Richard showed me a passage from Lords of Discipline which simply blew me away - it was exactly what I felt about Dr. Stirling and Conroy just put it so beautifully. I was immediately struck by his eloquence and his mastery of imagery and I borrowed the book and read it from cover to cover without stopping. After he died, Dr. Stirling's wife later told me that the letter I sent him with the Conroy quotation had touched him deeply and to this day The Lords of Discipline will always hold a special place in my heart. I met Pat Conroy at a book signing in Atlanta and was able to thank him personally for his words of inspiration. He was a lovely man and I would recommend any of his books (The Water is Wide is my second favorite).
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