The Parting - the Foreword by Pete Dawkins
"When the author, Rich Adams, was a cadet, I returned to West Point to teach in the Department of Social Science. One of the courses I taught was the National Security Seminar. In it, we touched on the self-determination of nations—specifically how, through the years, the self- determination process influenced the fashioning of national policy. At the end of 1860, when South Carolina became the first of many states to secede from the Union, the nation was torn by starkly contrasting visions of what path our country’s national policy should follow.
The Parting is a story that brings American history to life and, in the process, makes you think, smile, and sometimes weep. While the subtitle alludes to this being a story about West Point on the eve of the Civil War, it turns out to be much more. The deft interplay between the three days before the First Battle of Bull Run and the events of the preceding year at West Point is surrounded by a broader treatment of American history and enriched by the infusion of seemingly unrelated facts and events. From the outset, the story is charged with tension between the hope for peace and the reality of war. Fast-moving, vivid, and gripping, The Parting is, at its heart, a story of a “band of brothers.” Formed at West Point among the Class of 1861, it fell to these brothers to decide on which side of Bull Run to make their stand. This powerful and touching saga is written in a way that draws in readers who have never seen—or, indeed, known of—West Point, in no less a compelling way than it does graduates of the Military Academy.
The author’s factual account of West Point at the beginning of the war is compelling. His attention to detail, vivid dialogue that captures the temper of the times, as well as his crisp portrayal of key personalities—including the legendary tavern keeper, Benny Havens— will capture both the imagination and the sentiment of every reader. The author’s adherence to documented relationships between actual cadets—some quite famous and some not so, but all significant to the plot—heightens the flow and flavor of the tale.
I applaud Rich Adams for taking on this ambitious project. His careful study and prodigious research have produced a fascinating and artfully crafted novel. In the process, it honors West Point and those who served as their consciences led them, during an enormously wrenching period of our nation’s history."
Peter M. Dawkins—First Captain of the United States Military Academy Corps of Cadets; President of the West Point Class of 1959; captain of the Army football team; Heisman Trophy winner; Rhodes Scholar; Airborne Infantry field commander; decorated combat veteran; Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.); and Distinguished Graduate of West Point.