Texas A&M's Corps of Cadets has shaped the traditions that mark the rich heritage of one of the nation's largest universities. Keepers of the Spirit traces the history of the Corps from its founding at the land-grant Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas on the banks of the Brazos River to its entry into the twenty-first century. From shaky early years that saw rugged conditions, constant administrative turnover, and financial difficulties, Texas A&M and its Corps grew into what they are today. In the twentieth century the Corps gained national recognition as its graduates performed courageously in World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. And the Corps remains one of the largest uniformed organizations of military cadets in the nation, next only to the federal service academies. Offering commissions in all branches of the armed services, Texas A&M since 1876 has produced more than 43,000 commissioned officers, of whom more than 225 have reached the rank of general or flag officer. Skillfully integrating contemporary political, social, and cultural elements, John A. Adams, Jr., has analyzed hundreds of primary source documents to shed historical light on the values, customs, and controversies that have shaped the Corps's 125-year history: the Southern military tradition of duty, honor, and sacrifice; the struggle to integrate veterans returning from both world wars into campus—and Corps—life; the admission of women into the university and into the Corps; and the evolution of the Corps into a voluntary, rather than mandatory, part of an expanding and diversifying university. Keepers of the Spirit contains dozens of photographs never before published, as well as comprehensive lists of key people and events in Corps history. Published in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the University, Adams's work dramatically and entertainingly details Texas A&M's and the Corps's contribution to America's long tradition of well-educated and well-prepared citizen soldiers.
About the Author
JOHN A. ADAMS, JR., Class of '73, knows his subject from the inside out, holding three degrees, including a doctorate in history, from Texas A&M University, where he himself was a member of the Corps. He is the author of two other books on the university's history, Softly Call the Muster: The Evolution of a Texas Aggie Tradition, and We Are the Aggies: The Texas A&M University Association of Former Students. Adams won the 1990 T. R. Fehrenbach Book Award for excellence in Texas history for his Damming the Colorado: The Rise of the Lower Colorado River Authority, 1933–1939. He lives in Orlando, Florida.