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Once An Eagle Paperback – May 7, 2002
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“Beautifully written. ...A masterpiece. .... Myrer’s descriptions of firefights are by far the best I have read.” (George S. Patton - MG, U.S. Army)
“Remarkable . . . utterly engrossing. Myrer is a superb storyteller.” (New York Times)
“An ambitious, magnificently vivid novel...compelling. The battle scenes are among the finest I have ever read.” (The Atlantic)
“Myrer was an excellent storyteller...Once An Eagle is that very rare thing, a genuine ideological novel. When one of these becomes standard issue to the Corps of Cadets we would be remiss if we ignored it.” (New York Review of Books)
“A powerful, provocative and strongly-written novel...and an implied warning to the nation...One hopes that the Chiefs of Staff in Washington will read it with care.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
“Accurate and appealing. The most brilliant and moving description of men in battle I have read... Truly a great book.” (Hugh B. Hester - BG, U.S. Army)
“At long last we have what critics have been saying was lost to modern novels--an honest-to-God hero...a natural.” (Harpers)
“I fully understand why Once An Eagle has become a classic novel of war and warriors. Sam Damon doesn’t preach, he lives his values and they are universal not only military.” (General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, US Army Retired - Commander in Chief Desert Storm)
“I would pick up Once An Eagle rather than Norman Mailer any day for a clue as to what is going on in Vietnam.” (Baltimore Sun)
“In ironic contrast, the story moves from jungle warfare to drawing rooms on the Potomac, and back again...Goes to the heart of our century.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Inspects down to thier most elusive motives those who have to make the agonizing command decisions.” (Providence Journal)
“Inspired me...the essence of being a good man, soldier, officer and leader...the standard, the pride, the motivation...We are all better men because of Anton Myrer.” (David L. Grange - BG, U.S. Army)
“Magnificent...word pictures of combat superb...a remarkable book.” (R. Ernest Dupuy - COL, U.S. Army)
“Never read anything that depicts army life and the battlefield with such deep appreciation...superb account...artistry and sensitivity.” (Eugene A. Salet - MG, U.S. Army)
“Once An Eagle has been the literary moral compass for me and my family of soldiers for more than two generations. It’s ethical message is as fresh and relevant today as it was when Anton Myrer wrote it during the war in Vietnam.” (Robert H. Scales - MG, U.S. Army Commandant U.S. Army War College)
“Once An Eagle is truly a classic. It caused us to reflect on core values...one of the key ingredients to the success we now enjoy. Sam Damon has been and will be a beacon of moral and physical courage for young American warriors.” (Henry H. Shelton - General, U.S. Army)
“Once An Eagle may be America’s War and Peace and Anton Myrer a contemporary Tolstoy.” (Louisville Courier Journal)
“Reflects skillful research in military areas as well as technical mastery of the writing craft...Through the gentle but courageous character of Damon, Myrer graphically describes the criminal, dirty, wasteful, savage immorality of war...The Army career man will look on it as a monument.” (Denver Post)
“Required reading...at the Army War College...a classic of military literature and a guide to honorable conduct in the profession of arms.” (Douglas V. Johnson I - LTC, U.S. Army)
“The author’s description of the military mind and muscle at work in combat and out are quite realistic...reading this book will be a great experience for those who haven’t experienced what the author writes about so colorfully.” (David M. Shoup - General, USMC)
“The most outstanding novel I have seen in long years. And it is far and away the best work of fiction with a military background I have ever read.” (Journal of the Armed Forces)
“Too overwhelming, too awe-inspiring to keep to youself...magnificent,” (Philadelphia Bulletin)
“A classic novel...Sam Damon doesn’t preach, he lives his values and they are universal, not only military.” (General H. Norman Schwarzkopf)
“A classic.” (Washington Post)
“A great generational story of our US military, warts and all.” (SENATOR JOHN McCAIN)
“Once an Eagle is simply the best work of fiction on leadership in print.” (General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
From the Back Cover
Once An Eagle is the story of one special man, a soldier named Sam Damon, and his adversary over a lifetime, fellow officer Courtney Massengale. Damon is a professional who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above self interest. Massengale, however, brilliantly advances by making the right connections behind the lines and in Washington's corridors of power.
Beginning in the French countryside during the Great War, the conflict between these adversaries solidifies in the isolated garrison life marking peacetime, intensifies in the deadly Pacific jungles of World War 11, and reaches its treacherous conclusion in the last major battleground of the Cold War -- Vietnam.
A study in character and values, courage, nobility, honesty, and selflessness, here is an unforgettable story about a man who embdies the best in our nation -- and in us all. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
,loved it. Refreshed my understanding of the sacrifices made for our freedom and existence mixed with challenging issues of leadership. Should be required reading for any young adult and every citizen of this free county.
Meet Sam Damon. At the outset, he's a dreamy, idealistic teenager in the small town of Walt Whitman, Nebraska. He's the night clerk in the local hotel and eatery. He's possessed with a first class intellect and a fiery ambition to "do something great with his life." He dreams of getting an appointment to West Point.
Sam applies for admission to the U.S, Military Academy, but gets impatient at the bureaucratic delays. He enlists in the Army, serves with General John J. Pershing in the 1916 "punitive expedition" to Mexico, and ends up in the trenches of France a year later, during the last year of World War I. It is there that Sam performs his greatest act of military heroism, an act that earns him a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant; the Medal of Honor; and the affectionate sobriquet "The Night Clerk." Throughout his tour of duty in France, Sam continues to distinguish himself not only with valorous deeds on the battlefield, but also with his no-nonsense leadership style, centered upon his passionate dedication the welfare of his men. He consistently sets a superb example of the highest ideals of personal behavior in his dealings with both his superiors and subordinates. It is here that he begins to understand the ultimate futility of war.
It is also here that he has his first encounter with his lifelong "bête noire," Courtney Massengale. Massengale is the complete antithesis of Sam Damon and everything he stands for. Like Damon, he's keenly intellectual and ambitious, but he seeks recognition and career advancement through being in the right place at the right time; currying favor with his superiors; and his incessant political maneuvering. His disdain for his subordinates is evident during his first encounter with Sam Damon shortly after Damon's unit comes "out of the line" in France.
Throughout their parallel careers in the Army, most of which occurs in the years between the two World Wars, Massengale, the unctuous West Point graduate, and Damon, the heroic "mustang" (a term of respect for officers with prior enlisted service) occasionally find themselves stationed together, and almost always on opposite sides of whatever issues confront them at any given moment. Their relationship comes to a head in the heat of battle against the Japanese the Philippines during World War II, and again, two decades later, in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
The Damon/Massengale relationship forms one of the central themes of this wonderful novel. For, in this relationship can be found a study in personal ethics as it applies to those not only in military life but also in the business sector as well. Through these two disparate characters, Myrer asks a fundamental question about human nature: why do people who rely on slipshod ethics and oleaginous double-talk so frequently successful at the expense of those whose moral compass is based on a well defines set of noble values and principles? It's a question that's plagued society from its inception, and such an important question that the U.S. Army War College includes a study of "Once An Eagle" as part of its curriculum in advanced leadership training for senior officers.
"Once An Eagle," originally published in 1968, was re-released in a beautifully bound hardcover edition in 2000. It's newly billed as "...a classic novel of soldiers and soldiering." It is indeed that, but it's also much more. For, at its heart, this beautifully crafted novel is one of the finest ANTI-war novels I've ever read. Anton Myrer, himself a veteran of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Pacific theater during World War II, pulls no punches in his condemnation of war. His battle scenes are consistently tough, gritty, highly descriptive accounts of men fighting against other men. He describes combat on the most human terms... from the perspectives of those who did the fighting and dying. Myrer takes the reader inside the minds of his characters, allowing the reader to understand the character's hopes, fears, anxieties, and physical torments...
"Once An Eagle" is a long book - over 1200 pages - but it's well worth reading. Anton Myrer's style is polished and highly literate. Despite its length, it's actually a fairly quick read. I finished it in about 10 days. The book always held my interest, and in places, actually proved difficult to put down. It is an eloquent condemnation of war and its effects on the human soul. Highly recommended.