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Soldier's Heart PDF Print E-mail

'Soldier's Heart': Why we ask West Point cadets to wrestle with poetry
Elizabeth Samet writes of her decade spent teaching literature at West Point.

By MARJORIE KEHE

 Elizabeth Samet has been teaching literature to cadets at West Point since 1996. It's not a career Samet would have envisioned for herself during her student days at Harvard and Yale (and certainly not as a teen at an all-girls school in Boston) but, as she makes clear in Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature through Peace and War at West Point, a thoughtful meditation on her work there, it's become a calling.

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“The spirit and tradition of this place are in every way worthy of its noble setting. ‘Duty, Honor, County’ – The ideal embodied in this motto of the Academy has been the quickening impulse through the years of more than a century. To that ideal your predecessors, those ancestors of the spirit, have, with the rarest exceptions, been remarkably steadfast. They have been honorable gentlemen, gentlemen unafraid, who did their full duty with patriotic devotion.”

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Secretary of War, June 14, 1938 graduation address
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