This audiobook was a free download from NetLibrary.com, was 22 hours and 10 minutes long, and was narrated by Tom Stechschulte.
This was one of Pat Conroy's first novels, published in 1980. It is loosely based on his experiences as a cadet at The Citadel, where Conroy played Division 1 basketball in the mid 60s. Years later, Conroy wrote a non-fiction book about his senior year at The Citadel called "My Losing Season".
This one is about a young cadet, Will MacLean, who survives his plebe year and all the attendant hazing, and continues his college years as an iconoclast. He is a studious English major, a student athlete, and an uninspiring military specimen. Fortunately, he is part of a band of brothers. He and his 3 roommates would take a bullet for each other, and it is all that makes their time at South Carolina Military Academy possible.
During his senior year he is tasked with keeping watch over the school's first black cadet. This mission is not for the faint-hearted. Not only is this boy going to get the hazing of his life; but there is a secret organization on campus dedicated to keeping the school "pure", and they don't observe any limits.
This is a long book, but it flies by because there is so much going on. There is also much that will touch you, anger you, and even inspire you. This is Pat Conroy's most emotional book, in my opinion, because it strikes so close to his own heart. Even "The Great Santini", a book based on his relationship with his father, does not bring up Conroy's bile like this one. He hates bullies, and he hates the system that creates them; even turning former victims into bullies.
It was easy to give this one 4 stars.