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Once an Eagle: A Novel | [Anton Myrer]

Once an Eagle: A Novel

Once an Eagle is the story of one special man, a soldier named Sam Damon, and his adversary over a lifetime, fellow officer Courtney Massengale. Damon is a professional who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above selfinterest. Massengale, however, brilliantly advances his career by making the right connections behind the lines and in Washington’s corridors of power.
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Publisher's Summary

Once an Eagle is the story of one special man, a soldier named Sam Damon, and his adversary over a lifetime, fellow officer Courtney Massengale. Damon is a professional who puts duty, honor, and the men he commands above self-interest. Massengale, however, brilliantly advances his career by making the right connections behind the lines and in Washington’s corridors of power.

Beginning in the French countryside during the Great War, the conflict between these adversaries solidifies in the isolated garrison life marking peacetime, intensifies in the deadly Pacific jungles of World War II, and reaches its treacherous conclusion in the last major battleground of the Cold War.

A study in character and values, courage, nobility, honesty, and selflessness, here is an unforgettable story about a man who embodies the best in our nation - and in us all.

Anton Myrer (1922–1996) enlisted in the US Marine Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor and served for three years in the Pacific. Wounded on Guam, he returned to Harvard, graduated, and began an illustrious literary career, during which he wrote such memorable novels as The Big War, The Last Convertible, and A Green Desire.

©1968, 1996 Anton Myrer (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A remarkable novel…Utterly engrossing. Myrer is a superb storyteller, one of the few gifted novelists now writing who cares about the art of narration and is a master of it…A grim, exciting, and almost overwhelming account of twentiethcentury war. It is an astute study of the mind and character of a good general and a good man. And it is a brilliant inside views of the life of a career officer in peace and war.” (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (110 )
5 star
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4.6 (93 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Glen BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 11-11-12
    Glen BAKERSFIELD, CA, United States 11-11-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    8
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    "Just a great story"

    I usually only listen to audiobooks while driving, but I found myself carrying a portable CD player around the house and patio so I could continue to listen to this story while doing projects around the house.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Santa Barbara, CA, United States 10-02-12
    Ron Santa Barbara, CA, United States 10-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Not just a great tale but a lesson for all!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Once an Eagle the most enjoyable?

    Important for our children and grandchildren ... and I say this as a recovering communist and pacifist.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The example of a HERO.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    Grover has done so many non-fiction books that are fabulous but this reveals his ability to capture countless characters as they should be heard.


    If you could take any character from Once an Eagle out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Sam Damon because he is the archetype for us all.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad 08-18-14
    Chad 08-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "A must read!"
    If you could sum up Once an Eagle in three words, what would they be?

    One of the best military fiction stories out there. True tail of a hero who struggles to do the right thing rather than take the easy course.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Highland, CA, United States 06-04-13
    Dave Highland, CA, United States 06-04-13 Member Since 2005
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    "One of the Most Compelling Books I Have Heard"
    What made the experience of listening to Once an Eagle the most enjoyable?

    The character development and interaction in a realistic manner


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Once an Eagle?

    the unexpected ending -- very dramatic.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The sense that he was enjoyig the book as he read it.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?


    sad at time, but strong feelings for the charactrs as they develioped/


    Any additional comments?

    None

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Sterling, VA, United States 05-24-13
    Mike Sterling, VA, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read 3 times in 40 years"
    What made the experience of listening to Once an Eagle the most enjoyable?

    Living the story through listening, as opposed to watching an abreviated version on screen. Unlike reading, I felt as if I was "in" the complete story as I listened. I was in the fire fights and I had tears fall on my cheeks along with Sam when he spoke to the newly formed 55th Division Salamanders"


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Once an Eagle?

    When Brandt gave all for General Damon. As a veteran, I knew of a Marine who survived the same action. It was a M26 frag that the VC threw back. Fortunately it was a dud. However the heroic action and thouhgts were the same. This Marine was awarded the Navy Cross, and I was proud to serve with him. Sam spoke twice; once when the 55th was originally formed and on Memorial Day after the war. Each time his feelings and expressions were honest and sincere and the Memorial Day speech caused me to ask myself the some of the same questions about the current situation in the Mid-East..


    Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not that I can recall


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    An ordinary mans' Honor and Courage.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read Once an Eagle several times, usually at critical moments in my life and it has always helped me find the Courage and Honor that at times has alluded me. I've never been able to measure up as much I'd like, but Sam Damon has always been able to "ground me" and help me get thru a crisis or mature in life as the need presented itself. It's been about twenty years since the last time I read the book and it continues to have a positive impact on my life. This is the first time I've listened to a reading of the book and I enjoyed it much more than the mini-series. Although Sam Elliot did a wonderful job, like all movies from a novel, a lot had to be left out. Not so with the audio version. I really felt the emotion and sensed the feelings of Sam and all of the characters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry TUCSON, AZ, United States 10-03-12
    Terry TUCSON, AZ, United States 10-03-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Must read for every military officer!"
    Where does Once an Eagle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Number 1 and I never read fiction.


    What other book might you compare Once an Eagle to and why?

    Homer's Odyssey


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The interaction with the Chinese officer.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I tried but it was 40 hours, but worth the hefty price.


    Any additional comments?

    None.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip E Bailey 04-13-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Maybe the Best Military Fiction Novel"
    Where does Once an Eagle rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This book provides a glimpse into the military life style. There is no wonder this book is so highly recommended for men and women considering a military career.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Red Bluff, CA, United States 11-09-12
    Stephen Red Bluff, CA, United States 11-09-12 Member Since 2003

    You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everyone has the same personality"

    All the characters in this book are the same. The story has a flow to it and you might find it a good read if you can stand a 40hr one man act. The narration makes it bareable.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results
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  • Timekeeper
    Warwickshire, UK
    5/9/12
    Overall
    "Rushing to praise ..."

    I can think of a number of military accounts, both fiction and non-fiction that I've enthused about over the course of seven decades, foremost amongst them being Remarque's "All Quiet On The Western Front", Monserrat's "The Cruel Sea", Mailer's "The Thin Red Line", Crane's "Red Badge Of Courage" and Kantor's "Andersonville".

    In more recent years I've found Jeff Shaara's work, along with that of Hugh and Stephen Ambrose and, latterly, Karl Marlantes equally compelling.

    Not until this week, however, have I come across a work of military fiction so engrossing and so mesmerising that I found myself - even before I'd completed the book - going back time and again to certain paragraphs or sections in order to keep the author's wonderful, sometimes distressingly so, description of one event or another in my mind.

    Anton Myrer's staggeringly complex Once An Eagle is unmissable - a huge work that is apparently required reading for West Pointers and US Marine Corps officer candidates. I have it as an audiobook (unabridged and narrated over a massive 41 hours by the excellent Grover Gardner) but have ordered it in 'real time' for my bookcase.

    Those who never read it will never know what they've missed!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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