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by Anton Myrer

Download Once an Eagle epub
ISBN: 0425051382
ISBN13: 978-0425051382
Category: No category
Author: Anton Myrer
Language: English
Publisher: Berkley (March 15, 1981)
ePUB size: 1832 kb
FB2 size: 1823 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 191
Other Formats: rtf doc docx mbr

An indescribably powerful book, especially considering it is fiction, and one I could not--and cannot--stop thinking about. I'm a veteran myself of the USMC, Navy and Army, with two wartime deployments. I have been a student of military history and have read the memoirs of so many--Russian, Japanese, American, German, US Civil War, and Napoleonic invader/survivor of the Russian winter nightmare, so this sort of book is not new to me. Yet....yet....the scope of this book, its era-appropriate language, the observation of generations as they passed from pre-1900 war to the early 60s, the politics, the antics and behavior of everyone from the squad level up to the Army and Corps level, seemed remarkably vivid and accurate. The combat "scenes" were absolutely mind-boggling in authenticity, down to the smallest nitty-gritty details only someone who'd been there would know. War isn't sterilized in this book, and the relationships of command, the commanded and the commanders, are thoroughly gone through. My experiences in Iraq don't begin to approach what Myers described, but they ring true. The misery of forced marches, wet, the pain and how it feels to be falling-down exhausted and so many countless other things totally GET IT. Massengale is considered the evil of the book, yet he isn't really that. He's different, and based on my experience in both military and civilian management, pretty accurately reflects those who tend to climb the socio-economic-military ladder. I'm rambling here, but can only close with one last thing: my father fought in WWII and Korea, and possibly part of the early Indo-China campaign on "business trips" lasting 6 months or more. He never told us much. My mom described his nightmares from the first two years of their marriage (60-62), where he would jump out of the bed onto the floor while screaming.....telling her afterward that he was bailing from an airplane--or trying to--while on fire. The burn scars on his legs were all we had ever seen. This was fifteen years after WWII! Like many veterans of combat, he would only talk about silly and funny anecdotes, but not much else. It wasn't until 2006, when he died, the physician told me that in doing a whole-body CAT scan, they found many fragments, rods and plates scattered in his limbs and skull. Reading this book, a book against war, I could not help but think again....and again of my father. And so many like him. Bottom line? As Staff Sergeant Barnes from the other epic "Platoon" famously says, "Talking about killing? Y'all experts? Y'all know about killing?"
Once An Eagle

In 1968, Anton Myrer, a Marine Corps veteran of WWII in the Pacific, wrote an epic war novel, "Once an Eagle," which became an instant best seller in the military. The two main characters represent two extremes of the types of people you meet in the military, with most of us somewhere in-between.

The hero, Sam Damon, is always being told to swallow his ethical code for the good of the service between bouts of physical and moral courage that we all wish we could emulate when the time comes. The villain, Courtney Massengale exemplifies the ticket punching careerist, climbing to the top of the army hierarchy over the dead bodies of his troops.

What no one seems to get is that ‘Sad Sam Damon’ failed his own code when he didn’t prefer charges against his corps commander, Massengale, who was responsible for the destruction of his division. Massengale broke his word when he took Damon’s reserve force and used it for a grandstand play while leaving Damon without the backup he was counting on. When Damon has a meeting with Massengale in the hospital after the battle, after some sparring, he asks him why, "Why did you do it?"

When Massengale claims it was all a misunderstanding, Damon fights back by saying that he has copies of the messages and witnesses. Massengale and he go back and forth, with Massengale threatening to ruin Damon’s career; then Massengale brings up the old bottom line, that Damon should drop it for the good of the service. Damon resists compliance until Massengale offers a unit citation for his division and reminds Damon that the war isn’t over.

Damon considers that his reconstituted division will have to fight again and if he is gone, who will lead them? Damon caves in and Myrer implies that in Damon’s doing so, we had Vietnam. I loved that book along with many other vets but it took three readings to see that Sam was just like the rest of us, willing to live with the lie and even tell it for the good of the service and his own career.179

I wrote this description of "Once an Eagle" in my book "Content with my Wages..."

The book’s author, Mr. Myrer said his combat service in World War II had the greatest impact on his life. ‘‘I enlisted imbued with a rather flamboyant concept of this country’s destiny as the leader of a free world and the necessity of the use of armed force,’’ he once wrote. ‘‘I emerged a corporal three years later in a state of
great turmoil, at the core of which was an angry awareness of war as the most vicious and fraudulent self-deception man had ever devised.’’ New York Times-MEL GUSSOW Published: January 23, 1996
I normally don't read fiction but I saw the series on television many,many years ago. I was curious about the book. For me to say this is a GREAT book would be an understatement as Anton Myrer has written an outstanding novel about a man who was born before the turn of the last century and of his life and experiences. It concerns his life in the Army from WWI through the very lean years after the war and
through WWII and beyond. This novel is over 800 pages long.The thought process that went into this novel to me is astounding. How could one man sit down and write such a detailed novel as this I'll never understand but he did and I'm glad he did.I guess it's been out of print or some such, it's not hard to find. Buy it, enjoy it you'll be glad you did