Home > Uncategorized > WRITTEN BEAT: Annaplois Autumn by Bruce Flemming

WRITTEN BEAT: Annaplois Autumn by Bruce Flemming

Recently I took the time to read Bruce Flemming’s Annapolis Autumn. And when I say recently, I should say finally. He wrote the book around the time I was a midshipman at the Naval Academy but it wasn’t until now, over five years later, for me to sit down and read his controversial accounts of life as a midshipman.

For anyone who has ever been curious about life at one of our nation’s service academies, I do highly recommend this book as it provides one point of view into that world. I say one point of view because, like any nonfiction work, the book is based on how Professor Flemming views the Academy. His views are neither right or wrong, but skewed by his life experiences. He tells one story where he helps a student of his learn better form while they are both swimming laps at the Academy pool. This student, who had been doing poorly in his class, respects the professor more after this event. Professor Flemming attributes this to his demonstrating physical prowess to the midshipman, something he highlights as a cornerstone for respect at the Academy. One could just as easily attribute the midshipman’s newfound respect for his professor to the fact Professor Flemming helped him outside of class, in an non-formal environment where it was not required to do so. Both arguments are valid, and the only one who knows the true answer is the midshipman involved.

Overall, Professor Flemming is very critical of how the Academy operates (especially in regards to its selection process, which created a great deal of debate during my time there). Even though he is critical of the school, I do not believe he does so out of hate or disgust. He does so because he believes in what the intuition stands for and what his role there is. The school’s foundation is of honor, courage, and commitment. But these ideals are not meant to be followed blindly. They are to be questioned constantly to ensure we are headed down the right path. For that reason, people like Professor Flemming are necessary. They are necessary in order to force ourselves to ask the questions we don’t really want to ask. And when we do, we may be disturbed by the answer.

J.

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