Guiding Lights: United States Naval Academy Monuments and Memorials
Author: Nancy Prothro Arbuthnot
Publisher: Naval Institute Press (2009)
Binding: Hardcover, 496 pages
In this easy-to-use reference, Naval Academy English professor Nancy Prothro Arbuthnot tells the stories behind sixty of the Academy's monuments and memorials. To personalize the memorials and the naval figures they honor, she has included letters, firsthand battle reports, Lucky Bag commentaries, award citations, and other documents. Along with famous quotations, the book also presents poems and tributes written by midshipmen that explain how the memorials have inspired them, along with original poems by the author. More than 140 illustrations, including black-and-white photographs and reproductions of historic sketches, visually enrich the book. In revealing the people and events behind the Academy s memorials, Arbuthnot provides models or guiding lights to help readers steer their own courses through life.
Guiding Lights is a thoroughly researched and excellently presented reference on the many monuments and memorials at the United States Naval Academy. Covering the well-known and the obscure in equal detail, the author illustrates the value of each through factual prose, historical accounts, and her own poetry. Especially enjoyable was how she interspersed the writings of many of her students from the Naval Academy as well.
As a Naval Academy graduate, I am especially grateful to Prof Arbuthnot for this work. It is rare that a non-graduate attempts to dive so deeply into the lore that makes the United States Naval Academy one of the most historic places in the country, and her effort is both professional and artistically done. Each monument is presented with photos, official US Navy accounts, and personal quotations both by the subject of the monument and about the subject of the monument. In addition, Prof Arbuthnot provides original poetry inspired by the monument or facility, either written by herself or by a midshipman at the Naval Academy. The end result is a book which engages the reader on several different levels, and can engage several different types of readers.
Highly recommended for Naval Academy graduates and their families, especially those that enjoy history or poetry.
Reviewed by: Rob Ballister (2010)