The Lords of Discipline: A Novel

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Pat Conroy is one of my favorite authors and I would love reading his description of paint drying. A few months ago, I posted my review of The Great Santini after a re-read. But a modest income alone never denied access to those haughty parlors; and wealth alone could never insure it.

The Lords of Discipline - Kepler's Staff Review

If you were crass, lowborn, or socially offensive, it would have made no difference to the proud inhabitants South of Broad that you owned France; they would not invite you to their homes. Not certain I should even admit that I did not like the one and only Conroy book I read in high school! Of course you can admit it! Let me know what you think of this one and thanks for stopping by! I have read the book several times. I was at The Citadel as a freshman when Conroy was a senior. It was an experience I will never forget. It was true in my Company that certain knobs received more hazing than others.

The official line was that hazing was outlawed; however, it did occur. As to The Ten, I believe this was a fiction, but one that brings a Southern grotesque atmosphere to the novel. It would seem that they would fit in courses in Southern lit.

ISBN 13: 9780553381566

There aren't many authors who can do that so eloquently, tying in real world issues with a fictional world full of characters who are well developed and a plot line that makes me want to keep reading until I get to the end. Some of this book was really rough though especially the scenes with the hazing but I think it's really necessary to have that visceral reaction to the things happening in the story. View all 12 comments.


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Dec 28, Jana rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. Every time I have the same problem with Conroy. Every time when I finish reading ''him'' I have this properly deep ache. I even get angry because I know it will take a long and thorough research to find book s , author s that could replace this Pat Conroy feeling.

And I never do find them, I never managed. The major problem is - I always fall in love with his characters. On the other hand, he is so intense and if I were reading only his books and books of this caliber which is again, impossible to find , I would only read four books per year.

To give myself a little break from exhaustion. BUT, luckily I've read enough reviews to know that I'm not alone in this. To add even more spice to this essay: it's a goddamn military book! I think the main reason why so many people relate is because it seems like you alone are experiencing all the things that are written inside.

It really is that real. And scary. The main character is Will McLean, senior in that college, and he is one of the most amazing and best developed male characters I have ever come across in any novel. Will McLean hates the Institute, but he gave a promise to his father that he would graduate. During four extremely brutal and agonizing years he was psychologically, physically, emotionally and morally humiliated, degraded in every possible way a human can tolerate, or not tolerate, because plebe system during the first year makes you swallow blood and expect nervous breakdown.

Final result if you survive is a satisfaction of becoming a Complete Man. Will is an Irish descendant, an athlete, majoring English only pussies major languages , with brilliant dry sarcastic humor that is his shield against those who torture him. He is introspective and opinionated, but he has unimaginable sense for justice and fairness and he is wise beyond his years.

He is shivering afraid of his demons and yet absolutely not afraid to point and admit them in a place where you have to hide everything. But, his major qualities are his morality and loyalty. He cares too much about people, and he thinks too much, and goes into such deep and complicated monologues where he tears himself apart that you as a reader push your limits as well, and this is what kills him.

In a way he's a full circle person. This character is growing with each page and you grow with him. I had a serious crush on him. Institute is the nest of hate, racism and cruelty and they have to accomplish their mission of developing the Complete Man without flaws, so it's vitally important to have somebody who will represent comfort, loyalty and security. Will has three best friends: Tadd, who comes from the wealthiest and oldest Charleston family, Pig, the strongest of all the seniors and Mark, Italian descendant.

They are roommates and blood brothers. Off campus Will is less sure of himself, in his romance with peculiar and snobbish Annie Kate Gervais, a native of the beautiful city Charleston. Conroy knows how to put us on paper. He wrote pages long poem to this Ashley river based city and those parts where he talks about Charleston are probably, if that is possible, the best parts of the book. From the beginning this book was intense but Will is just so powerful and attractive character that you live with him during the reading.

To find in real life, let alone to get yourself mesmerised by somebody 'who' is called - a fictional character. There is so much more to this book than my words could describe. Painful, insightful, heartbreaking, inspiring and stunning. True masterpiece. View all 13 comments. Instagram Twitter Facebook Amazon Pinterest I understood for the first time why the punishment for Lot's wife was so severe. Since he's the most liberal and cynical boy in the academy, he Instagram Twitter Facebook Amazon Pinterest I understood for the first time why the punishment for Lot's wife was so severe.

Since he's the most liberal and cynical boy in the academy, he's given the task of protecting the new black recruit who's entering the school as a result of desegregation. Their school, Carolina Military Institute, is well known for its "plebe" system and brutal hazing methods of incoming freshmen, culminating in something called "Hell Night. Unfortunately, hazing and Hell Night aren't the worst thing about the school. There's whispered rumors of a secret society called "The 10," filled with influential and powerful boys, who will stop at nothing to purge the school of anything that they deem damaging to the Carolina Military Institute's honor code.

And if Will McLean does his job and protects Tom, he might come under fire, too. This was so good, you guys. It's brutal and twisted and violent and awful, and has all kinds of dark themes, but it says powerful things about honor and friendship and pride and loyalty and what it means to really do the right thing. I'm a huge sucker for secret society and boarding school stories, and when you throw revenge, friendship, and plotting into the mix, I'm sold.

This book didn't fail to deliver, either. The hazing scenes are so disturbing and the stakes in this book are so, so high.

KIRKUS REVIEW

There's a lot of grief and suffering. This is an excellent story that I would have loved to have read in college, and I think it's got a story in it that a lot of my friends would be interested in reading. It says a lot of bad words the F-word, the N-word , and has a lot of tough themes running the gamut from torture and assault sexual and physical to teen pregnancy and suicide, but it's such a powerful read that I feel like it's worth the struggle. The only reason it doesn't get a full five stars from me is because the writing can be a bit clunky and hard to get into, but man, the story is totally worth that bumpy, dumpy ride.

View all 7 comments. This would be the 3rd unforgettable book I've read by Mr. Conroy in the past year, and to date. I just love reading his work. There is no other way to put it. He just simply writes, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful sentences I have ever read. He has an unflinching capacity to be so brutally honest it often hurts. But it is the greatest pain one can recieve from a great novel. The amount of passion, pain, and pure adrenaline within the pages of this book will not let the reader put this o This would be the 3rd unforgettable book I've read by Mr.

The amount of passion, pain, and pure adrenaline within the pages of this book will not let the reader put this one down. I promise! View all 6 comments. Oct 03, J. An incredibly in-depth novel about life for young men in a military school. View all 4 comments. One for my six-star shelf, another Conroy gem. View 2 comments. Aug 26, Joseph Spuckler rated it it was amazing. A book of several plot lines and experiences that reflect the plebe system, racism, class, and secrecy.

Honor is taught and praised but not all follow. Loyalty to your fellow cadets is earned; others are forced out. A system that takes Marine boot camp from eleven weeks to four years. The task is taken to earn the title or in this case the ring and become part of a brotherhood that is forever. Oct 04, Muhammad K rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: See 5th body of text in review. It is during this process that Will comes face to face with a sinister organization, the driving force behind the hazing culture of the institute, which singles out and targets specific individuals they consider outside their notion of "ideal graduates.

While struggling through these bitter experiences, Will also finds the first love of his life. She adds beauty and purpose to his life, counterbalancing the ever-growing struggles at the institute. The casual use of profanity as a means of degrading people shows how Pat Conroy does anything but sugarcoat the realities of the military academy. To some, this extreme use of lewd language may seem morally objectionable.

However, I personally believe such details are integral to the books theme. These expressions of extreme hate and love are very real, and abstracting away from them would dull the stark message of the book. The plot was slow to develop, but once established, it was impossible for me to put the book down. The use of vivid details forced me to become closely attached to the characters, their struggles and their emotions at every turning point in the story became mine. I believe this book has particular value for the two extremes of the social spectrum. I would recommend it to those struggling to come to terms with who they are, since this book serves as a support in their isolation by giving accounts of those who have overcome their isolation.

This book is also an important lesson for those in position of authority, it would show them the profound effect their actions can have on the lives of those around them. In conclusion, The Lords of Discipline is an insightful read. It presents a non-fairytale version of the society we are all a part of. We must all deal in some way or another, with the truths this book features, in order to truly value that which we love and hate.

View all 5 comments. Jul 17, Bob Mayer rated it it was amazing. As with all Conroy books there are many plot lines in the story. So many, that when they made the movie, they left out the main one! Nevertheless, a writer like Conroy can handle that many stories with his superb prose. As a graduate of West Point we always wondered why people went to the Citadel to be abused. I still wonder although it is an ingrained part of society in that part of the country. Conroy was never afraid to take on difficult topics and his frank look at the racism might even be und As with all Conroy books there are many plot lines in the story.

Conroy was never afraid to take on difficult topics and his frank look at the racism might even be understated. An excellent read. Feb 16, Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing. Lords of Discipline is as forceful a novel as I have read. To describe the plot would not do it justice, but here is the gist. He is asked to look out for the first black incoming freshman in school history and see him through his plebe year, a year that breaks and washes out numerous incoming cadets. It is a story of race, southern culture. And it is rough. Conroy pulls no punches, minces no words, and hides nothing.

He writes with a sort of angry, pointed, sad, beautiful force I have found in few other novelists. His books deal in the complexity of the ugly — the ugliness of history, family, mental and emotional health, relationships. But they deal in the beauty of those things too. Pat Conroy is one of my favorite novelists and stands alone in style.

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View all 3 comments. Shelves: southern-literature. I was introduced to this book at Pat Conroy by my high school algebra teacher. She was reading the book just after it came out and suggested that we all read it. I think I may have been the only one who did. I immediately fell in love with this work.

Conroy's descriptions of Charleston are priceless. Some of my favorite quotes come from this book. I return to this work yearly to explore my old friends once more and with each reading I find a nuance that I had overlooked in the past. From the openin I was introduced to this book at Pat Conroy by my high school algebra teacher. From the opening passages where Will McLean says that "walking the streets of Charleston in August is like walking through gauze or inhaling damaged silk. View 1 comment.

Wow this is a rough Read.

Interesting what was expected or accepted during the Vietnam War. There was no room for the week. These young men were put through rigorous and demeaning torture that was definitely the actions of ruthless young men that had a history of violence or abuse in their younger lives. The power hungry, older officers should have been charged with Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman. On the flip side there was a group of friends that were very loyal to each other Good writing, characters and narration.

Jan 05, Steffany Cartellone rated it it was amazing Shelves: my-topor I love Conroy's humor in this book, the way he uses it to diffuse some incredibly raw scenes. I cried so hard when Pig walks down the line and the men turn their back on him. And then the train. It absolutely broke my heart. I love all of Conroy's books for their descriptions, for introducing me to the beautiful South, and for his characters.

He has strong people with strong issues which makes them real. And the men are vulnerable and strong and that's not something you see in many books. T I love Conroy's humor in this book, the way he uses it to diffuse some incredibly raw scenes. Thank you Pat Conroy. Pat Conroy has done it again! He drew me into The Lords of Discipline both visually and emotionally. I thought I was right there with Will McLean. I wear the ring and I return often to the city of Charleston, South Carolina, to study the history of my becoming a man. My approach to Charleston is always silent and distracted, but I come under full sail, with hissing silk and memories a wing above me in the shapes of the birds But to me, Charleston is a dark city, a melancholy Pat Conroy has done it again!

But to me, Charleston is a dark city, a melancholy city, whose severe covenants and secrets are as powerful and beguiling as its elegance, whose demons dance their alley dances and compose their malign hymns to the side of the moon I cannot see Oh, Mr. McLean, how you are wrong, sir! I liked you at the beginning and loved you at the end. You were brave, maybe a little narcissistic. But you absolutely did the right thing. However, I did wonder about you and your judgement when you said this: "Anyone who knows me well must understand and be sympathetic to my genuine need to be my own greatest hero.

It is not a flaw of character; it is a catastrophe. It was because I wanted the adoration of the underdog, the blind approval that the downtrodden so gratefully bestow on their liberators. It was all paternalism, my insatiable desire to be the benevolent tyrant dispensing tawdry gifts and moldy foodstuffs to the subjects who stumbled into the spiritual famine of my sad kingdom. Tradd St. I was leery of the "Honey Prince. The Ten and Charleston have those secret and beguiling covenants. The Viet Nam War is beginning to ratchet up.

The boys who enter the Institute, leave as men. Shaped by a code that is strict and what the secret organization, The Ten, believes a man should be. They take an oath to uphold the traditions of the Institute at any and all costs. I was told that The Ten has a powerful lobby in the state legislature, that they are influential in contributing money to any political candidate deemed favorable to the Institutes interests, and that they watch individual members of the Corps carefully to make sure that no one graduates who is unworthy to wear the ring.

Boys are hazed horribly. They are abused to their breaking point, so they're empty. That emptiness is refilled with discipline, physical strength, pride, worthy to wear the ring. I cannot come to this story in full voice. I want to speak for the boys who were violated by this school, the ones who left ashamed and broken and dishonored, who departed from the Institute with wounds and bitter grievances. I want also to speak for the triumphant boys who took everything the system could throw at them, endured every torment and excess, and survived the ordeal of the freshman year with a feeling of transformation and achievement that they had never felt before and would never know again with such clarity and elation.


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He and his 3 roommates were subjected to a stiffer Plebe system that bordered on torture with a capital T. If Bear hadn't asked Will to look out for the first black cadet of the Institute, this year would have been much different. Or would it have been? There would still be the coming of age story, loyalty, betrayal, first love, Charleston's prejudice. But would all 4 have survived? The Ten was a vile group of human shit that looked and walked like Cadets and Men of Power.

Beware of the dog who has had enough of its Master's abuse - it will attack, going straight for the jugular. Nov 19, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. I read this book over the course of two days in September I could not put it down. It was recommended to me by a friend who attend The Citadel. I rarely read books as fast as I read this one.

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I highly recommend it. All the stars!

I read this for a challenge I'm doing. What a fantastic find! The Lords of Discipline tells the powerful story of Will McLean, a senior who attends the prestigious South Carolina military school, also known as the Institute. Will quickly learns that to get through the years, he All the stars! Will quickly learns that to get through the years, he needs the help of his 3 bestfriends, who are also his roommates.

Will goes to great lengths to provide protection and make Pearce feel safe. By doing this, Will uncovers dark, dirty secrets about the school and some of his closest friends. This requires Will to build friendships with unexpected characters, along with break bonds with people he loves. The vulgar language used by the upper classmen along with the torture and abuse the freshman endure make this a hard book to read at times. I personally believe this was necessary to fully tell the story and emphasize just how cruel these guys were to each other.

This is crucial to the story line because of the time period the setting of the book is based off of. Conroy's love for Charleston clearly shows through in his flowery and poetic descriptions of it and the South. It makes me want to visit someday. I also feel smarter after reading this because of Conroy's use of advanced vocabulary. That's always a plus. This is a beautifully written and moving story of Will McLean and his transition from boy to man. It is moving to my list of all time favorites. I knew what I had to do now and what I had to watch out for and whom I had to fear.

I could write my own Blue Book now and its rules and codicils would be my own. I would think my own thoughts, not theirs. Conroy has created as realistic a portrait of young adult companionship and comradely as I have found, to date, in literature. This long novel has many themes and characters, but the text is really about its narrator, Will McLean, and his years at a military college, known as "the Institute. The voic "The Lords of Discipline" is one of the best novels dealing with male love and friendship that I have ever read.

The voice of its protagonist, Will, is one of the novel's most enjoyable features.

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