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Westwords: Coming of Age in the American South During World War II

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Fifteen-year-old Weston Newcomb is fairly surprised when he passes the early entrance exam into the university at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May of 1943. But the escape from his home in Loris is welcome. Skipping his senior year at a small town high school, West is now somewhat at a disadvantage, both in youth and in education at this large university. In his first cla Fifteen-year-old Weston Newcomb is fairly surprised when he passes the early entrance exam into the university at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May of 1943. But the escape from his home in Loris is welcome. Skipping his senior year at a small town high school, West is now somewhat at a disadvantage, both in youth and in education at this large university. In his first class, he encounters a strangely antagonistic professor, a specialist in Thomas Wolfe, who complicates his life. However, his classmates give him a much broader education. Each new acquaintance seems to have lived a life startlingly different from his own. Self-centered and solipsistic but hungry for skills to serve others, West encounters a gamut of friendships as he stumbles, fumbles, and struggles toward social and sexual adulthood. Counterpoint to his progress are the guns of World War II. Nazis have invaded Poland, the Japanese have struck Pearl Harbor, and atrocities engulf the planet. Only gradually does West perceive the importance of the war. He integrates personal growth and a discovery of authoritarianism at its worst. He experiences the dark midnight of FDR's death and the bright noon of war's end. He finds his chance for manhood in a world he must help to rebuild. West learns that war is hell, but so is growing up.


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Fifteen-year-old Weston Newcomb is fairly surprised when he passes the early entrance exam into the university at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May of 1943. But the escape from his home in Loris is welcome. Skipping his senior year at a small town high school, West is now somewhat at a disadvantage, both in youth and in education at this large university. In his first cla Fifteen-year-old Weston Newcomb is fairly surprised when he passes the early entrance exam into the university at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in May of 1943. But the escape from his home in Loris is welcome. Skipping his senior year at a small town high school, West is now somewhat at a disadvantage, both in youth and in education at this large university. In his first class, he encounters a strangely antagonistic professor, a specialist in Thomas Wolfe, who complicates his life. However, his classmates give him a much broader education. Each new acquaintance seems to have lived a life startlingly different from his own. Self-centered and solipsistic but hungry for skills to serve others, West encounters a gamut of friendships as he stumbles, fumbles, and struggles toward social and sexual adulthood. Counterpoint to his progress are the guns of World War II. Nazis have invaded Poland, the Japanese have struck Pearl Harbor, and atrocities engulf the planet. Only gradually does West perceive the importance of the war. He integrates personal growth and a discovery of authoritarianism at its worst. He experiences the dark midnight of FDR's death and the bright noon of war's end. He finds his chance for manhood in a world he must help to rebuild. West learns that war is hell, but so is growing up.

6 review for Westwords: Coming of Age in the American South During World War II

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lewis W.

    I wrote the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mysti Jaye

  3. 5 out of 5

    sara

  4. 5 out of 5

    sara

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

  6. 4 out of 5

    MOHAMED

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