Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Nate Fick: The Kerouac of our time?

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on February 4, 2010. When I spoke at Harvard earlier this week I was struck that in conversations, several undergraduates cited Nathaniel ...

626413_100204_on_the_road.jpg
626413_100204_on_the_road.jpg

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on February 4, 2010.

When I spoke at Harvard earlier this week I was struck that in conversations, several undergraduates cited Nathaniel Fick's book One Bullet Away not just as a book they had read, but as a work that had changed how they think about what to do with their lives. They seem to have been influenced by it the way Ivy Leaguers in the 1960s were influenced by Kerouac's On the Road -- sort of, "if I were really cool, that's what I would be doing." I suspect the new direction is heavily affected by the fact that today's freshmen have spent their entire conscious lives under the shadow of 9/11.

I guess this shift makes Quantico the San Francisco of our time, and OCS and TBS its Buddhist monasteries. And my other boss, John Nagl, the new Allen Ginsberg. Just imagine him with a big old beard.

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on February 4, 2010.

When I spoke at Harvard earlier this week I was struck that in conversations, several undergraduates cited Nathaniel Fick’s book One Bullet Away not just as a book they had read, but as a work that had changed how they think about what to do with their lives. They seem to have been influenced by it the way Ivy Leaguers in the 1960s were influenced by Kerouac’s On the Road — sort of, “if I were really cool, that’s what I would be doing.” I suspect the new direction is heavily affected by the fact that today’s freshmen have spent their entire conscious lives under the shadow of 9/11.

I guess this shift makes Quantico the San Francisco of our time, and OCS and TBS its Buddhist monasteries. And my other boss, John Nagl, the new Allen Ginsberg. Just imagine him with a big old beard.

I see the best minds of my generation studying counterinsurgency . . .  

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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