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Bill Thayer

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West Point
The Story Of The United States Military Academy,
Which Rising From The Revolutionary Forces
Has Taught American Soldiers
The Art Of Victory

[image ALT: A line drawing, atmospheric rather than precise, and half-enclosed in a prominent scroll of stylized foliage bearing the date 1944, of a fortress, flying the American flag, by the edge of a body of water: in the immediate foreground, a small island. It is a depiction of West Point on the Hudson River.]

A view of the U. S. Military Academy on the Hudson River, with Constitution Island in the foreground; a Cadet training wing flies overhead. In the printed edition of this book, this line drawing heads the Table of Contents.

Elizabeth Waugh was a civilian, a novelist, and a woman and thus in many ways an outsider — women were not admitted to West Point until 1976 — but she lived not far away: and in the dark days of World War II and of her own terminal illness, she gave us her take on the Academy, its history, traditions, and daily life, produ­cing a book that gains additional interest from its own time, when the Army flew most of our planes and Cadets, on an accelerated wartime curriculum, also learned to fly. Her book, which mind you is already more than adequate as we have it (and her concluding chapter touches excellence) could have acquired further cohesion, crispness, and style with another year's work; but time is not what she had, and she was able to see it thru: courage comes in many forms.

The West Point

Benedict Arnold in Command

The Foundling in the Mountains

Old Pewter

Brevet Major Sylvanus Thayer

West Point Comes of Age

Beyond the Sally Port

The Science of Peace and the Art of War

Brothers at War

In the Western Wilderness

The Matrix

West Point in Total War

The Place Itself

Becoming and Remaining a Cadet

Every Cadet an Athlete

Wings and the Technique of War

Our West Point

[decorative delimiter]

Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition transcribed here is a recent reprint, of unknown date, of the only edition, published and copyrighted in 1944. The copyright, however, was not renewed in the appropriate year, which would have been 1971 or 1972, so the text has fallen into the public domain. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)


This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The book was well proofread, and the inevitable errors are minor. I fixed them by marking the correction each time, when important (or unavoidable because inside a link), with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read what was actually printed. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles. A small number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, split infinitives, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.


The book contains seven illustrations: a large drawing of the USMA Color Guard, which I recognize from somewhere else and therefore haven't reproduced; a crisp line drawing of the Academy's coat of arms, also not reproduced here; and five other line drawings, which I do reproduce at their places: two decorative flourishes in the introductory material, and three vignettes of the post from different vantage points and at different periods, heading the Table of Contents and Chapter 1, and closing Chapter 17. They are all uncaptioned, and in black on white; I've altered them as you saw above, but no details have been lost in any of them.

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Site updated: 29 Dec 13