5.0 out of 5 stars I liked OAE so much I created a website!
I liked Once An Eagle so much I created a website! See [...] -- Tom Hebert
Published on Dec 13 2007 by Thomas Hebert
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated!
This book is the most over-rated book on leadership I have ever read.
Sam Damon is the knight in shining armor who can do no wrong. As a teenager, prior to even joining the Army, he spends his time writing analyses of Civil War battles that one would expect from a graduate of the Army War College. He decisively beats the lumberjack-size town drunk in a fist-fight...
Published on Jan. 15 2004
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5.0 out of 5 stars I liked OAE so much I created a website!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership skills and a guide for everyday living...,
5.0 out of 5 stars Where is the Video or DVD?,
This review is from: Once An Eagle (Hardcover)The other 85 reviews tell it all. I read the book and loved it. I served in the Army for 22 yrs. and finally, fully understood and appreciated it. There ARE men like Damon. They are few but they are there and they deserve to be honored in fiction and film. I remember the TV series based on the novel and thought it was terrific. How is it possible that it is not available on DVD? Shogun is available on DVD, Thorn Birds is available on DVD, Winds Of War is availabel on DVD. For crying out loud Natural Born Killers is available on DVD! How is it possible that Once An Eagle is NOT available on DVD? As John Stossel would say: "Give me a break!"
5.0 out of 5 stars Two roads to the top,
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Once an Eagle (Hardcover)This book is the most over-rated book on leadership I have ever read.
Sam Damon is the knight in shining armor who can do no wrong. As a teenager, prior to even joining the Army, he spends his time writing analyses of Civil War battles that one would expect from a graduate of the Army War College. He decisively beats the lumberjack-size town drunk in a fist-fight hands down. He does everything right.
Oh, excuse me...he commits adultery by having an extra-marital affair. But hey, Sam Damon is such a stud, he deserves the right to blow off a little steam with some Army nurse.
What aspiring leaders need to understand is that it is possible to be an exceptional leader, maintain your integrity and dedication to your subordinates, and accomplish the mission despite human limitations. Aspiring leaders need to understand that while innate talent is important, dedication and perseverence and living by a set of firm moral values will enable you to succeed as a leader.
We don't need an "out of sight" Sam Damon to inspire our aspiring leaders. Instead, consider studying the paths to greatness of real human leaders who actually walked the face of the Earth, such as Abraham Lincoln.
My point is, how can you truly credit anyone, such as the hero, Sam Damon with such honor, courage, and commitment, when the author has already built-in so many talents that the humans among us can't even relate?
I admit, this is a pretty good book...it reads extremely well, and of course Sam Damon is a model of the very best motives and attibutes all combat leaders should aspire to. I guess it was the extra-marital affair that really put me off, as if that's no big deal. The way I see it (I've been married for eight years and an officer for ten), if a man or woman cannot or will not honor the vows they made on the altar, I have a hard time believing that they would honor the Code of Conduct under pressure. Like, 'I can't resist my urge to do the wild thing with some nurse behind my wife's back, but on the other hand, you can push needles under my fingernails or torture me with electric shock, but I will never betray my country.'
5.0 out of 5 stars As professional reading for a soldier...,
My point of contention with many of the reviews both on the book cover and from my superiors and peers was the hero worship aimed at the character of Sam Damon. He is a wonderfully constructed hero and Myers has done a wonderful job but, as in all great literature, he is flawed, sometimes painfully so, and his flaws in the end are his undoing.
This concerns me because some of the traits I know senior officers in the military want us to emulate are those same tragic flaws. Sam Damon sees his service to country above all else. He sacrifices his family to his duty. This is what I see as a major element of his tragic flaw. At times he better serves the soldiers under to the detriment of his own family, in effect, subjugating the needs of his family to those of the Army. Too many senior officers in today's military expect this sacrifice from their subordinates and that is why this book is so popular amonst senior military officials. They all wish they had a flock of Sam Damons working under them for they do not see his tragic flaw as such. They do not want balanced well rounded officers with lives outside the military. Instead they want officers willing to sacrifice everything in their life for the Army.
As I see it, Sam lacked the ability to balance his life. He gave everything to the military and when it was done he had nothing and was easily pulled back in to his doom because he had not invested some of his time in his family, friends, community or religion.
A wonderful story and cautionary tale and I would recommend it to anyone. To military personnel who are reading it based on advice from others, come to the table with an open mind and understand that Sam has many wonderful traits to emulate. It is up to you to intelligently decide which traits are noble and which are flaws.
5.0 out of 5 stars Old books never die...,
This review is from: Once An Eagle (Hardcover)This was the first book I had "read for fun" ever, being that I just got out of college. But the subject matter (History) and length (1,000 pages) told me otherwise. But I insisted, since it was on every reading list I saw for Junior Officers, including the USMA and Army Chief of Staff lists.
You follow Sam Damon through his entire life, from the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1915 up to the beginnings of the Vietnam "War." From the lowest Private to the General Officer who people worshipped. The story is amazing and unbelievable. I was so attached to the book. I found myself highlighting passages and quotes of the "real" moments that I have either seen or assume I will see. Sam is everyone's hero. And this hero has his sworn enemy in Courtney Massengale. I hated Massengale. Just like the book wanted me too. But Myrer makes you understand everbody's view in this work by shifting the perspective from Sam to Massengale to Sam's Wife on occasions. But still, I hated Massengale.
The book trashed two of my immediate expectations. First it was an Army book written by a Marine. I thought, "what could a Marine know about the Army?" Second, I never expected much regarding Sam's relationship with his wife/family and the toll that the Army life took on them. This was not distracting to the book, but rather intensified the relationship between Sam and his family, and the "relationship" with myself.
Highly recomended to anyone with an interest in the history of the battles of the early part of last century, the military minded, or even those who hate the military, but need a bit more knowledge. Yes, this book can be read as an "Anti-War" book.
5.0 out of 5 stars The moral compass of the American fighting man,
Once an Eagle's characters are inhuman. No man can match the dignity and sense of duty of Sam Damon. Few men can match the evil of Courtney Massengale, and none of those have worn the uniform of our country. The situations in Once an Eagle are preposterous; each one is form-fitted to provide the reader with the most insight into the characters.
All these alledged flaws (which other reviwers have used to justify their low marks given) are the very things that make Once an Eagle such an outstanding book. By making the world of Once an Eagle such a high-contrast and black-and-white place, Anton Myrer gives military leaders the perfect yardstick to measure their actions. Each new lieutenant aspires to be a Sam Damon, and wishes to God that he does not become a Courtney Masengale. The qualities of Sam Damon- integrity, a sense of duty, the deep parental feelings towards his men- are the qualities that make armies strong. These qualities, above technology or resources, are the qualities we hope that our military possesses. To paraphrase a former Marine Corps Commandant: while the circumstances of war change, the essence remains timeless: war is a struggle of will. Once an Eagle is the perfection that our military leadership aspires to, because the qualities of Sam Damon ensure victory in that "struggle of will."
Other reviewers have disparaged Mr. Myrer's military experience; how can a mere corporal speak of leadership? I believe that a corporal in charge of three other men in a fire team has the most tangible grasp on leadership- the results are always in front of him. As a corollary, it can also be said that as one rises in rank, the more difficult is becomes to grasp the principles of leadership that a corporal plainly sees. The qualities of leadership necessary to be a corporal are magnified proportionally as one commands more men, but the requirements are the same: integrity, a sense of duty, and a parental attitude towards the men he commands. Perhaps that is why Mr. Myrer has written such a magnificent work.
During the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was told to take nothing but the most essential items. I skimped on the extra underwear and put my copy of Once an Eagle in my pack instead. I wasn't afraid of running out of clean underwear- I was afraid that I would not live up to the example of Sam Damon if and when the moment of truth came. I think Once an Eagle is THE moral compass of fighting men.
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Book!!,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic story of American soldiers,
Myrer brilliantly focuses his vast story on these two archetypal characters. In the end he creates a sweeping tapestry into which he weaves many relevant issues: leadership, love, marriage, racism, courage, politics, etc. He offers an intriguing look at such things as the role of military wives, officer-enlisted relations, the relationship between the military and civilian political authorities, etc.
The book is full of memorable characters, vivid scenes, and powerful dialogue. Myrer has a real skill at descriptive writing. Ultimately, this is a novel of ideas which never loses touch of the humanity (or inhumanity) of its characters. I especially liked the fact that Myrer creates compelling female, as well as male, characters.
It's really like an epic TV mini-series in book form. Recommended as companion texts: "A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier," by Joseph Plumb Martin, "Bridges at Toko-Ri," by James Michener, and "Starship Troopers," by Robert Heinlein. All are excellent books in particular for military leaders, or for anyone with an interest in the military.
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Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer (Paperback - July 1977)
Used & New from: CDN$ 19.99