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Class of '47: Annapolis America's Best [Hardcover]

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Item description for Class of '47: Annapolis America's Best by Jack Sheehan...

Corrected subtitle is Annapolis - America's Best

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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.65 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2006
Publisher   Stephens Press
ISBN  1932173676  
ISBN13  9781932173673  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jack Sheehan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jack Sheehan has written eleven books, including The Players: The Men Who Made Las Vegas; Buried Lies: True Tales and Tall Tales from the PGA Tour and Embedded Balls, both with professional golfer Peter Jacobsen; and The Class of '47, a profile of the USNA class from Annapolis that is arguably the most distinguished military class ever. He has sold three screenplays to Hollywood. Sheehan received the Nevada Film Commission Award for Outstanding Screenplay for Buddies, the Western States Outstanding Journalist Award for Feature Writing, and the Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Article in the United States for his essay "The Loneliest Road in America." He lives in Las Vegas with his wife, Carol, and two young children, J. P. and Lily.

Jack Sheehan currently resides in Las Vegas, in the state of Nevada. Jack Sheehan was born in 1949.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Military > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Biographies
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > Naval
6Books > Subjects > History > Military > United States > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Class of '47: Annapolis America's Best?

An awe inspiring book  Apr 25, 2008
A quote from Ambassador Vernon Weaver: "It's foolish to ponder whether our class was the best, but I can tell you that as a class, we did all right for ourselves."

While this might not be the understatement of the century - it certainly ranks in the top 100. "Class of `47" by Jack Sheehan, details the lives of but a few of the notables of the members of the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis) of 1947. Former President Jimmy Carter, Admiral William Crowe, former CIA director Stansfield Turner, Medal of Honor Winner James Stockdale and billionaire investment banker Jackson Stephens were all members of this class that "did all right" - and their lives are detailed with great respect in this book by Sheehan.

As I started this book, I was the most interested to read about Jimmy Carter. Though I was too young while he was president to know too much about him - I've since developed a great respect for his intelligence, warmth and desire to correct the disastrous path our country is on. I recently read "Our Endangered Values" by Carter and same like (and agree with) this great man even more. Reading about his life in this book was very interesting...and I was impressed yet again with his sense of humility. While Carter has achieved things in his life that most people don't even dream of, he accepts these honors only as incentives to do more, tools he can use to further the goal of peace.

The chapter on Jimmy Carter ends with a very touching personal note from the author. "As the interview ends, the writer looks around the room for his son J.P., who had been exploring bookshelves and peering out the window at some baby ducks. Not seeing the boy right away, he is concerned that he might have drifted into another part of the building, but then he notices President Carter smiling and nodding towards the back of the room. The boy has taken off his shoes and is sleeping soundly on a long couch...'No matter how hard you campaign, you just can't win every vote,' says Jimmy Carter, with that unmistakable smile that lifted him all the way from Plains, Georgia, to the most powerful position on earth."

As much as I enjoyed that chapter, I was absolutely engrossed in the chapter about Admiral James Stockdale. By the time he agreed to be Ross Perot's running mate in 1992 (and the details on this were fascinating), I was old enough to be paying attention. Seems like I only had a small portion of the story as I watched his debate performance at that time, and as I read about this man's life and all he endured, my face burned with shame for what I had thought (and said). Now that I know more of his story, I am in awe of James Stockdale.

As Sheehan visits the Stockdale home, he writes, "From the outside, this charming abode is not unlike many others lining the street on this tony little island off the San Diego coast. From the inside, well, that's a different story entirely - a riveting story, in fact, of love and pain, of heroism and struggle, of separation and the wedge it creates, of life and near death. The uplifting parts of the story - the love and heroism and life at its loudest pitch - are on display throughout the house."

So many things about Stockdale kept me riveted, but it was his story about surviving seven years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, and his incredible bravery and leadership there, that was the most compelling. Not only does the chapter include harrowing details of what he endured, it also looks at the struggles his wife and children went through at home as his wife and children waited for his return. (The facts that the government did not wish his wife to talk about her missing husband, and refused to give her the help she needed and didn't give the Stockdales the combat pay they deserved sounds eerily familiar.)

One anecdote brought tears to my eyes. "One morning Sybil (Stockdale's wife) was approached by Stan as she was doing the laundry. The little boy took her arm and, staring at her with the clear blue eyes of his father, said, "Mom, I'm so sorry about Dad." With her arms full of sheets and towels, Sybil could only hug her boy and try to comfort him. It was moments like these that she had to call on every fiber of strength she had to keep from crumbling."

The details of what Stockdale endured were, of course, far worse. (Which again, were all the more real as I read them, given current events.) Beatings, bondage, starvation, deprivation...for seven years. "Stockdale came to have nicknames for all the guards. There was Pigeye, Mickey Mouse, Rabbit and Cat, and each exhibited his own individual brand on inhumanity and cruelty."

Torture would be followed by "hours of anguish and guilt that his resolve had weakened." Stockdale was a leader in the camp, using Morse code to communicate with other prisoners, helping them remain strong and not give up, not letting other men feel guilty for yielding under unbearable pain.

Somehow - after an experience like this - this man was able to come home and resume a normal, no exceptional life. Such strength of will leaves me in awe. Part of his Medal of Honor citation reads: "Stockdale...deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture all the Prisoners of War."

And yet - because of actions (or lack thereof) of others James Stockdale had only hoped to help, here is what most of the country is left with as a memory of this remarkable man. (A quote from his son), "Here was a guy who had dedicated his whole life to high-minded ethical endeavors and suffered brutally and come out with his dignity intact, only to have him caricatured on Saturday Night Live [after the VP debate] as a buffoon."

Again? My face burns with shame.

There are so many amazing stories from these amazing men. That one graduating class at one school (albeit a more than impressive one) produced men of this character and achievement is truly remarkable.

And the quote from Weaver about "doing all right for themselves"? I will simply counter with a quote (though one used out of context) from another alumni of this class, Admiral Bill Crowe (who became the highest ranking military officer in the country).

"That's what you call a classic understatement."
One Great School Class  Mar 16, 2007
I suppose that there is no statistical proof, but there are ceratin classes at schools where everything seems to happen. The class of 1915 at West Point is known as the 'Class the Stars Fell On.' Of the 164 graduates, 59 earned at least one star (attained the rank of general), the most of any class in the history of the United States Military Academy. Two reached the second highest rank, Eisenhower and Bradley.

The Class of 1947 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis was another and this book is on some of its most distinguished graduates: Stansfield Turner (Director CIA), William Crowe (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Jim Stockdale (Medal of Honor), Jimmy Carter (President of the United States, Nobel Peace Price Laureate). In addition there are brief summaries of other members of the class.

The book is a reminder that there is still rom min this country for the old values of duty, honor, country.

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