The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy

The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy

The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy


Michael Erin is the Vice President of Development for The Economic Club of Las Vegas. Michael Erin often reads for entertainment and has several favorite books, including The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy.

The Lords of Discipline was first published in 1980, and received a Lillian Smith Book Award in 1981. The novel, set in South Carolina, tells the story of a group of four military school cadets and best friends, and describes the trials they must endure together. While the novel depicts a story of friendship and loyalty between the four boys, it also depicts the cruelty and violence of their encounters at the military school, starting with their experiences with freshman hazing.

The hero of the novel is Will McLean, a young man who begins studying at the Carolina Military Institute during the height of desegregation in the Vietnam War era. At this institution one of the enemies he, along with the other boys, must face is a racist secret society known as The Ten. The novel reaches a turning point when McLean is asked to mentor the first black student to attend the school, dragging McLean into a world of violence and hatred that the new student could not have imagined. Published as Conroy’s fourth novel, The Lords of Discipline, along with two of his other novels, is based on Conroy’s real-life experiences in the 1960s at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.


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