By Geoffrey Douglas
Fifty years in the past, within the fall of 1957, thirteen-year-old boys have been enrolled at an elite, boys-only New England boarding college. one in every of them, descended from wealth and eminence, may pass directly to Yale, then to a occupation as a military officer and Vietnam battle hero, and eventually to the U.S. Senate, from the place he might fall simply wanting the White apartment. the opposite was once a scholarship pupil, a misfit gigantic of a boy from a Pennsylvania farm city who could undergo shameful debasements by the hands of his classmates, then move directly to a solitary and mostly nameless existence as a salesperson of encyclopedias and trailer parts--before death, by myself, three hundred and sixty five days after his classmate's slender loss on Election Day 2004.
it truly is round those figures, John Kerry and a boy identified the following purely as Arthur, the bookends of a category of 1 hundred boys, that Geoffrey Douglas--himself a member of that boarding-school class--builds this amazing memoir. His portrait in their lives and the lives of 5 others in that class--two extra Vietnam veterans with greatly divergent tales, a federal pass judgement on, a homosexual ny artist who struggled for years to discover his position on this planet, and Douglas himself--offers a memorable glance again to a new release stuck among the expectancies in their fathers and the occasionally terrifying pulls of a society pushed via conflict, defiance, and self-doubt.
the category of 1962 used to be no longer so diversified from the other, with its proportion of swaggerers and shining stars, outcasts and scholarship scholars. Its contrast was once in its timing: on the distinct threshold of the cultural and political upheavals of the past due Nineteen Sixties. the area those boys were knowledgeable to go into and to steer, an international similar to their fathers', will be exploded and recast virtually for the time being in their entrance--forcing offerings whose effects have been occasionally lifelong. Douglas's chronicle of these instances and offerings is either a pill historical past of an period and a literary travel de strength.
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Paul’s Honor Code taught us anything lasting about honor? Were we stronger, more abiding people for having carried the weight of SOME OF THIS SAME ECHO, THIS 26 FAMILIAR STRANGERS following in our fathers’ paths? And all that intellectual rigor—were we smarter, more penetrating thinkers for having learned, at sixteen, to parse an argument? I didn’t have the answers, if there were answers. All I had was the sense I got, and still get, every time I look at that old photo: that for all the hope and pride and tradition, and all those thousands of tuition-dollars spent, the world we were groomed for at St.
We had almost nothing in common. He was a scholarship student from Illinois, the son of an airline sales manager (though I knew nothing of his family at the time, and never asked); I was a legacied “Paulie” from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, with a stockbroker father, a summer home on a private Adirondack preserve, and a closetful of Brooks Brothers tweeds. Neither of us had many friends, which was probably the biggest reason for our friendship. But he had a kindness about him, too, even before the weeks of his coaching, that showed itself in small ways—a listening ear, unasked-for Milky Ways—and a rawness that touched me somewhere.
He had never married— but had “given generously of his time and resources” to the Prison Fellowship Ministries and the Christian Blind Association. In lieu of ﬂowers, memorial gifts were to be made to a local Roanoke zoo. ) THE OTHER WAS ARTHUR. THE NEWS 39 THE CLASSMATES The tributes began the same day. Within a week there were more than thirty, some from classmates who had been silent until then; by the time they ended three or four weeks later, there were at least forty, maybe more—eight or ten times the number that the news of Rich or Walt would bring.