- Paperback: 274 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 8, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781495929465
- ISBN-13: 978-1495929465
- ASIN: 1495929469
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Virginia's Ring Paperback – April 8, 2014
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"Virginia's Ring is a triumph and a tour de force. Lynn Seldon has written one of the best books about a military college ever written. With the publication of Virginia's Ring, he joins the distinguished ranks of our military academy graduates who have written about the life changing, fire tested tribe. It reminded me of James Webb's A Sense of Honor about the Naval Academy and Lucian Truscott's Dress Gray about West Point. But Mr. Seldon makes Virginia Military Institute a great test of the human spirit and one of the best places on earth to earn a college degree."-Pat Conroy, author of The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, The Death of Santini, and many other bestsellers
"Lynn Seldon's Virginia's Ring will resonate with every man and woman who has stood in the long gray line, eaten a square meal, and sweated at something euphemistically called a party. The man knows his school, VMI, and his love for all he experienced there comes through on every page. This is a story of shared sacrifice, communal values, and unbreakable friendships. It nails academy life, and in doing so summons the best in each of us."-John Warley, The Citadel Class of 1967, author of Bethesda's Child, The Moralist, and A Southern Girl
"This is a book a Southern girl will read in bed, on the piazza, or on the beach."-Nathalie Dupree, co-author of Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking and Southern Biscuits and author of Nathalie Dupree's Southern Memories and many other books
"Lynn Seldon paints her [Virginia's] portrait with great care, sensitivity, and courage, and in doing so tells us not only her story, but his - he too wears the ring. Death haunts Virginia's Ring. It conquers all, but so do family, friendship, and love."-Bernie Schein, author of If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom and Famous All Over Town: A Novel
"The Virginia Military Institute - it would be hard to imagine a school so influenced by the past as this one, where history and tradition shape personal relationships on a daily basis. Lynn Seldon takes us into this world as only one who has been there can. Virginia's Ring reveals the complex and at times conflicted legacy of fellowship and sacrifice inherited by the young men and young women of today. It is a moving story, spanning generations, propelled by characters we come to love."-Dave Kennedy and Tom Farrell, writers and producers of "Field of Lost Shoes," a feature film about VMI cadets at the Battle of New Market
About the Author
Lynn Seldon is a 1983 VMI graduate. He is a former U.S. Army officer and long-time freelance journalist (www.lynnseldon.com). This is his first published novel. He and his wife, Cele, make their home in Oak Island, North Carolina, but often return to their native state of Virginia.
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The biggest problem with the book is that it has no plot. There is no story here that can stand on its own two feet. If the potential reader desires a fictional description of cadet routine and experiences, the reader may be satisfied. If the reader is expecting a "novel" in the usual sense of the word, I suspect that there may be disappointment. There is no edge to the book; it is warm, but more than a little soapy. There is frequent mention of and comparison to The Citadel. This is unnecessary and overdone by a fair degree.
One aspect of the Rat Line that isn't conveyed, and I wish it were because I think it's key, is that everything the Rat undergoes is voluntary. In that sense, it's like any elite military unit training: you can quit at any time, and it stops. Immediately. Permanently (as in you leave, like ringing the bell at BUDS).
Anyone with more serious interest in VMI will want to find books such as Wise's Drawing Out The Man, Couper's One Hundred Years at VMI, and (maybe) Laura Brodie's Breaking Out help round out the picture
He depicts as well as it can probably be done, how surviving ( and many thrive) the pressure of the three challenges, academics, military, and Spartan living conditions without privacy. VMI graduates have for the most part been purified a little by the pressure if they did not break.
The author also seemed to know the Richmond elite like I imagine an insider would insider. The novel which conveys a lot of information realistically, potentially could provide very helpful guidance to a matriculation who lacked friends or family who had experienced VMI. The focus on mastering academics, and productive time management was masterful. The author's description of the duke system, rat-daddies, and the attempts by" rats with radios"to be flamers was right on. Few pass through VMI unaffected or stressed by one of the aspects. Having a father who is unsure you can make the required effort, parents in the Pacific, and having a brother flying helicopters in combat added pretty of stress for me personally. I missed the rat roommates bonding experience, have two lost to honor violations. They just did not fit, and one got the ring. I enjoyed the book and plan to recommend it to applicants.