West Point '41

The Class That Went to War and Shaped America

West Point ’41 due out May 2014 in time for 70th anniversary of D-Day. Advance orders

The West Point '41 is a biography of young, aspiring leaders who attended the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1941 as second lieutenants in the Army. It was the last class to graduate West Point before the US entered World War II, their lectors bearing names like Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton. With the attack on Pearl Harbor just months after graduation, the new officers were thrust into leadership roles in an unprecedented manner with the young men expected to command in the greatest conflict in history.

They were labeled the “Black Class” because of their incessant pranks. More emblematic of the class, however, would be the command and courage they displayed and the groundbreaking innovations they would spearhead both in war and peacetime, innovations that would have a profound impact on the lives of Americans into the next century. Through it all, the unbreakable bonds between the classmates would endure, and none would be forgotten that went before them in joining the “Long Gray Line” of their class.

The biography follows this remarkable class through the eyes of about a dozen key officers - all in their 90s as they contributed their first-hand recollections to the book. The narrative weaves from their early cadet days on to the beaches of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and more. It follows class members into periods of peacetime and diplomacy, and through two more wars, Korea and Vietnam. Along the way, among other innovations, they help launch America into space and send into orbit the world’s first communications satellite, forever altering how the world connects. They create computers that speak to each other, enhance radar and create stealth, later generations of which would one day help capture the most wanted terrorist on earth. And they enter the inner sanctums of policy, helping to create strategies to keep peace in a Cold War.

Theirs is an odyssey of courage in war, innovation in peace, and diplomacy over a call to arms. It is an odyssey of patriotic individuals that become one in purpose, profoundly impacting history while remaining forever humble in their service. Intertwined throughout are themes of duty, honor, country and the lasting bonds of friendships that personify the remarkable West Point '41.