Most Succinctly Bred

Kent State University Press, 2006 - 100 páginas
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A memoir on being a soldier

"At this moment, the nation seems interested in soldiering. Not the politics that complicate the very act of service, but the dirty business of being a soldier. No one, except soldiers, knows much about the aftermath of such service. most succinctly bred opens the experience to those who want to know more without having to sit inside the sweltering temperatures of the tank's turret, without having to face day after day the real threat of dying."--Pat C. Hoy II

Like Susan Griffin's A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War, Alex Vernon's most succinctly bred explores war by exploring around war, by operating in the margins. Vernon records his ongoing relationship with war and soldiering--from growing up in late Cold War 1980s middle America to attending West Point, going to and returning from the first Gulf War, and watching, as a writer and academic, the coming of the second Iraq war. Not merely a collection of essays, this book has a trajectory, and the chapters, appearing in rough chronological order, loop in and out of one another. It is not a narrow autobiography that attempts to account only for the writer's life; it uses that life to illuminate the lives of its readers, to tell us about the time and place in which we find ourselves.

War has seasoned this reluctant soldier; it has wounded him as it wounds all soldiers. But war has not stopped Alex Vernon's life. A large part of what we read here is a fascinating story of recovery. He dares to tell the stories of recuperation without naming them as such, without being in the least maudlin about his experiences or his suffering. Full of surprises, most succinctly bred tells all of the truth tells all of the truth Vernon can muster in a language that is lively, rich, suggestive. This is a book that aims high in an artful, subtle way.

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Página 1 - The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, honor, country.
Página 96 - The love of war stems from the union, deep in the core of our being, between sex and destruction, beauty and horror, love and death.
Página 24 - George went into a vacant lot and throwing back his head looked up at the sky. He felt unutterably big and remade by the simple experience through which he had been passing and in a kind of fervor of emotion put up his hands, thrusting them into the darkness above his head and muttering words. The desire to say words overcame him and he said words without meaning, rolling them over on his tongue and saying them because they were brave words, full of meaning. "Death," he muttered, "night, the sea,...
Página 94 - Years later now you're young my fierce half-brother, staring down from that simplified west your breast open, your belt dragged down by an oldfashioned thing, a sword the last bravado you won't give over though it weighs you down as you stride and the stars in it are dim and maybe have stopped burning. But you burn, and I know it; as I throw back my head to take you in an old transfusion happens again: divine astronomy is nothing to it.
Página 26 - Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters. 2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept. 3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural," but we see it as lying within that which is naturally...
Página 96 - It is, for men, at some terrible level the closest thing to what childbirth is for women: the initiation into the power of life and death.
Página 22 - We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.

Acerca del autor (2006)

Alex Vernon is assistant professor of English and chair of American Studies at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. He is coauthor of The Eyes of Orion: Five Tank Lieutenants in the Persian Gulf War (The Kent State University Press, 1999), editor of Arms and the Self: War, the Military and Autobiographical Writing (The Kent State University State University Press, 2005), and author of Soldiers Once and Still: Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O'Brien (2004).

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