Accidental Soldier depicts Richard B. Schwartz's military experiences, first as an ROTC cadet at the University of Notre Dame and finally as an Army veteran teaching in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1959, Vietnam was little more than a word on a map, within ten years, Americans saw the Tet Offensive and their campuses in flames. Schwartz was at the ground zeroes of that time, teaching at the United States Military Academy from 1967-69 and then going to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, just after the Dow riots and before the bombing of Sterling Hall. The central portion of the book focuses upon Schwartz's experience at West Point, its cadets, officer corps and system of education. A sequel to his award-winning memoir, The Biggest City in America, Accidental Soldier reflects upon his military and academic experience through the perspective of an over forty-year teaching career, twenty-nine of which were spent as a dean at Wisconsin, Georgetown and the University of Missouri, Columbia.
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