Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

Programs for Citizens

A Soldier’s Duty: A Novel

by Thomas E. Ricks

Random House

250, January

Hardcover, 24.95

ISBN: 037550544X

Majors Sherman and Lewis are the best the Army has, young combat officers who have aced every posting and now find themselves tapped for career-making positions as aides of two of the Pentagon’s most senior generals. But the Pentagon is a cauldron of naked ambition and factional squabbling in the best of times, and these are not the best of times. A president whom the officer class widely loathes sits in the White House, and dissent is growing more vocal. Some officers are openly asking: If you believe the president is betraying his country, where does your responsibility lie? What do you do if your duty to your superiors seems at odds with your duty to your subordinates?

Shortly after the two majors arrive for duty, the White House involves the military in a police action in central Asia that some are calling a quagmire in the making. In protest, an anonymous group of military officers calling itself the Sons of Liberty begins to make itself heard, first through e-mails, then through symbolic acts. But as the fighting grows bloodier and more futile, the group’s acts become more serious, and its efforts to avoid a mounting investigation become more violent. As the Pentagon teeters on the brink of all-out war with itself, Majors Sherman and Lewis, unsure of where their duty lies, struggle to avoid becoming casualties in a conflict that is growing deadlier by the day.

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