Dr. Elizabeth Samet has taught literature at West Point for nearly two decades. As course director, she expertly chooses works that give an honest portrayal of warfare, instead of ones that clinge to romanticized narratives. Moreover, she encourages intellectual contemplation in a very regimented environment. Her influence has reached countless cadets, and her teaching perspective has broadened the Academy's own approach to teaching literature.
This article highlights Samet's professional career at West Point, and her reputation 'for drawing on centuries of literature to teach prospective second lieutenants about the psychological puzzles and ethical ambiguities of war.' These difficult topics are exactly what cadets need to reflect on before leading troops through the hardships of warfare.
Samet's reverence for the Army and its soldiers, but also her skepticism about the myths that shape them, is distilled in the last chapter of "No Man's Land." "The most persuasive solution a teacher can offer are the students she casts into no man's land: officers capable of reflecting on where they've come from and imagining where they might be going; leaders capable of telling stories but also of recognizing when those stories have lost their power and become obsolete; men and women willing not only to rewrite their own narratives but to contribute to the re-invention of a national narrative that will bear the weight of future meaning."