I picked up Soldier's Heart
months ago because the cover caught my eye and the back page synopsis intrigued me. Generally, I like to read outside my comfortable for entertainment genre when I'm a little stuck on my writing projects so I pulled it off the shelf a few days ago.
The book, by Elizabeth D. Samet, is written by a civilian among soldiers about emerging soldiers. She is an English teacher at West Point discussing how the school and the students changed after 9/11. I was amazed after only a few pages. Her insights, and stereotype breaking thoughts on our military, are so poignant I feel every civilian should read this book.
In the first chapter, she begins the book speaking of two friends who died in combat. Her description of the funerals, the snap of the flag, and the way she draws comparisons of every aspect to literature beautifully, gave me chills.
The services for my two colleagues constituted my first experience of military funerals, which have a kind of earnestness for which I was not entirely prepared. On unusually intimate terms with violence throughout their professional lives, soldiers know things that many of the rest of us do not. The most elemental thing they know, or are prepared to know, is death..... Whereas civilian funerals seem to cling to the idea that a unique individual has died, military funerals turn everyone into a symbol of epic sacrifice.
She is writing from neither a liberal nor a conservative stance. She is merely a teacher teaching students who will, after their senior year, be officers in the military.
It is so far a beautiful book speaking of the many facets of our future soldier's journey through literature and final stages of entering adulthood. She broke every assumption I've had of the men and women who enter West Point.
I'm thoroughly enjoying every word in this book. If you get the chance, read it. Soldier's Heart by Elizabeth Samet.