Lords of Discipline (re: Citadel, VMI)

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by VMINROTChopeful, May 4, 2008.

  1. VMINROTChopeful

    VMINROTChopeful Member

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    i saw "Lords of Discipline" tonite on DVD, the movie by Pat Conroy. After i got a letter from Pat Conroy suggesting that i go to citadel (sure i'm not unique in this!) i had to see this movie. so tonite i did. it's an awesome movie. Pat Conroy, who went to the Citadel, supposedly based "The Institute" in the movie on both Citadel and VMI. very cool. :)

    anyways, i'm recommending this movie. (although i have to admit at one point in the movie, i got so mad at what was happening in the movie that i punched the screen- LOL!)

    EDIT: oh, and the main character in Lords of Discipline was played by the smae actor as was in this other old movie, An Officer and a Gentleman.
     
  2. zfam

    zfam Member

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    The "Lords of Discipline" is a great book. Will always be one of my favs, and one of the best you can ever read on the military experience. The movie is good, but please, read the book. You won't regret it.

    My brother is a Citadel grad, Class of '86 and proudly wears the Ring. I waited in a bookline in Columbia, SC years ago to have Pat Conroy sign a copy of "Lord of Discipline". He is top-notch, and the epitome of a southern gentleman. That is so cool you got a letter from him. Hope you save it!:smile:
     
  3. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I couldn't agree more with zfam. READ THE BOOK.

    Trust me, the movie SUCKS! :thumbdown:
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    As a VMI Alum I don't believe that I would recommend reading this book - and Pat Conroy was ostracized by his classmates for 30 years as a result of the book. It might be an ok book- it's a crappy movie and neither of them are representative of the school that I knew. Pat Conroy wrote a couple of good books- (The Great Santini; My Losing Season) but I wouldn't put this book in the must read category- especially if what you are looking for is some insight into the Citadel or VMI.
     
  5. navy_clarinet

    navy_clarinet Member

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    This is by far my favorite book. And I'm not a Pat Conroy fan. As far as taking it for actual life at the Ctiadel, don't. It's not based on the current El Cid and shouldn't be taken as such. However, I believe it is an extrodinarily well written FICTION.
     
  6. VMINROTChopeful

    VMINROTChopeful Member

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    well, i'm reading a book too right now for school- Dante's "Inferno". As far as taking it for actual death in h*ll, don't. It's not based on the current h*ll and shouldn't be taken as such. However, it is nicely written FICTION. :wink: :shake:

    (ok- I couldn't help that navy_clarinet! I'm not laughing at you, just at how sensitive we have to all be about stuff like good books and good movies... I got beat up on CC for liking "Annapolis"... LOL! :shake: )
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    long as you know the difference. Funny thing about fiction though- it has a funny way of influencing the perceptions and the debate whether they are actually true or not (which is of course exactly why they force you to read and analyze fiction in your english classes). For example- plenty of fictional movie and literary accounts of Vietnam that have eventually become part of the popular memories of the war. I don't like the "Lords of Discipline" for exactly those reasons- it gives a very skewed perspective of life at a barely fictional southern military college and Conroy meant it to be that way which was why he was a reviled figure for years at the Citadel. The fact that someone titled this post ("Lords of Disclipline (re: Citadel, VMI) demonstrates exactly why I don't like it- you may know it's fiction and I may know it's fiction but clearly plenty of people out there are taking this as slightly retooled reality. I'm glad that Conroy and the Citadel have reconciled in the last few years- but I wouldn't recommend this book.
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    100% correct. You would be astounded at the number of people under the age of 30 who actually believe the Oliver Stone "JFK" movie is a documentary based on fact.
     
  9. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Oy! You ain't kidding! :mad:

    The book is entirely fictional, but it borrows a lot from all the Service and private Military Academies. Conroy is quite clear about that.

    If his classmates shunned him because of it, then there is either more to the story, or else they need to get a life. It's a NOVEL for crying out loud!

    ....and a DAMNED GOOD one! :thumb:
     
  10. CALMOM

    CALMOM Member

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    Since my son will attend VMI in the Fall, I have searched for as much info as possible so I can better understand his decision and his future. I saw mention of the book, "The Jeep: A Story of the Virginia Military Institute" on the Op-For website, ordered the book and thoroughly enjoyed it (as did my husband and son is reading it now).

    It tells the true story of a VMI prank (stealing the Citadel's jeep) and transporting it from Charleston to Lexington (seems unbelievable, but what a tale!)....but the story is about much, much more: the author is gut-wrenchingly honest and candid re: his feelings about the Institute, his experiences, his peers, and most interestingly, himself. I laughed, cried, and winced at some of what I read, but I highly recommend it if you want reality-check-insight as I did/do. Not a rah-rah "fluff piece" on military school life.

    The website is www.thejeepstory.com and all proceeds from the sale of the book go to a scholarship fund set up for a VMI alum (and story participant) who was killed while serving in Iraq.

    Plus, it made me appreciate the rivalry (and respect) between the two schools.
     
  11. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Thanks for the tip- I will get it.
     
  12. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Again, reviving an old thread... sorry for being new to the forums. :)

    I see a lot of myself in Will McLean. I think we were all meant to... especially us hopeless idealists who ended up going to military schools, for whatever reason. I love the movie and the book equally, because they have helped me to maintain my individualism over the past 3.5 years.

    It's easy to get sucked into the trap of groupthink at any military school. It only takes one year to make something "tradition," because all it takes is one person comin' back as a sophomore saying, "But that's what they did to me!"

    This book was obviously fictionalized, but it makes an important point for any cadet: it's easy to get so caught up in the moment that you forget the big picture. One of the loneliest things in the world is standing up for what you believe in, even though you're the only one standin'.

    While the story of Will McLean will always touch something deep in my soul, like Bruno, I would hesitate to recommend it for someone who has yet to attend a military school. It's better to gain some experience first, in order to compare it to what you learn of the Carolina Military Institute of the 1960s. That said, they should make the movie mandatory viewing for all rising Third Classmen.

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    First Class Private
     

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