College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Former Army Ranger’s Book Selected for 2013 Common Reading Experience

Ole Miss, Oxford community will read ‘The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education’

Craig Mullaney

Craig Mullaney

“The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education” by Craig Mullaney has been chosen as the 2013 Common Reading Experience novel at the University of Mississippi.

A 2009 New York Times bestseller and named one of the Best Military Books of the Decade by the Military Times, “The Unforgiving Minute” was selected for a number of reasons, said Leslie Banahan, co-chair of the 2013 Common Reading Experience Committee.

“It’s a wonderfully written coming-of-age story that shares the author’s experiences from plebe year at West Point through the almost unbelievable challenges of Ranger school training to two idyllic years in England as Rhodes Scholar and finally to the terror of combat in the mountains of Afghanistan,” Banahan said. “It’s a book about leadership, courage and the human spirit.”

Author Craig Mullaney said he hopes students will view his book not as an adventure into battle, but as a journey into adulthood.

“I think it guides students to a place where they think critically about who they are, what they want to become and what values are important to them,” Mullaney said.

As this year’s Common Reading Experience author, Mullaney will also address students Aug. 27 at Freshman Convocation.

“I’m thrilled to speak with students at Ole Miss,” he said. “It is the greatest privilege to write a story and share it with a wide audience. Every student and person takes away something different when they read this book, and they teach me far more than I could ever teach them.”

In its third year, the Common Reading Experience is a program designed to bring together UM students, faculty, staff and the campus community through the engagement and discussion of a common text. Faculty members will receive copies of the book later this semester and it will be distributed to all incoming Ole Miss freshmen during their respective orientations.

This year, the committee received nearly 150 nominations from the Ole Miss and Oxford community before ultimately selecting Mullaney’s book. According to committee co-chair Robert Cummings, “The Unforgiving Minute” was unlike previous Common Reading selections.

“This text gives us a chance to reflect on our education experience both as teachers and learners, what it means to sacrifice for our nation and the value of a liberal arts education,” Cummings said.

For more information on the Common Reading Experience, visit