Absolutely American

Absolutely American

Four Years at West Point

Book - 2003
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Houghton
Lipsky, a Rolling Stone writer and an award-winning novelist, chronicles daily life at the U.S. Military Academy during the most tumultuous period in its history.

In 1998, West Point made David Lipsky an unprecedented offer: stay at the Academy as long as you like, go wherever you wish, talk to whomever you want, to discover why some of America's most promising young people sacrifice so much to become cadets. Lipsky followed one cadet class into mess halls, barracks, classrooms, bars, and training exercises, from arrival through graduation. By telling their stories, he also examines the Academy as a reflection of our society: Are its principles of equality, patriotism, and honor quaint anachronisms or is it still, as Theodore Roosevelt called it, the most "absolutely American" institution?
During arguably the most eventful four years in West Point's history, Lipsky witnesses the arrival of TVs and phones in dorm rooms, the end of hazing, and innumerable other shifts in policy and practice known collectively as The Changes. He uncovers previously unreported scandals and poignantly evokes the aftermath of September 11, when cadets must prepare to become officers in wartime.
Absolutely American spotlights a remarkable ensemble of characters: a former Eagle Scout who struggles with every facet of the program, from classwork to marching; a foul-mouthed party animal who hates the military and came to West Point to play football; a farm-raised kid who seems to be the perfect soldier, despite his affection for the early work of Georgia O’Keeffe; and an exquisitely turned-out female cadet who aspires to "a career in hair and nails" after the Army. These cadets and their classmates are transformed in fascinating, sometimes astonishing, ways by one of America's most mythologized and least understood challenges. Many of them thrive under the rigorous regimen; others battle endlessly just to survive it. A few give up the fight altogether.
Lipsky's extensive experience covering college students for Rolling Stone helped him gain an exceptional degree of trust and candor from both cadets and administrators. They offer frank insights on drug use, cheating, romance, loyalty, duty, patriotism, and the Army's tortuous search for meaning as new threats loom.


Baker & Taylor
Documents the daily routines of the prestigious U.S. military academy during a turbulent time in its history, offering portraits of cadets and the elite officers who educate them, describing the institution's reaction to the September 11 attacks, and considering how it reflects American society.

Blackwell North Amer
In 1998, West Point Made David Lipsky an unprecedented offer: stay at the Academy as long as you like, go wherever you wish, talk to whomever you want, to discover why some of America's most promising young people sacrifice so much to become cadets. Lipsky followed one cadet class into mess halls, barracks, classrooms, bars, and training exercises, from arrival through graduation. By telling their stories, he also examines the Academy as a reflection of our society: Are its principles of equality, patriotism, and honor quaint anachronisms, or is it still, as Theodore Roosevelt called it, the most "absolutely American" institution?

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the daily routines of West Point, offering portraits of cadets and officers, describing the institution's reaction to the September 11 attacks, and considering how it reflects American society.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003
ISBN: 9780618095421
061809542X
Branch Call Number: 355.0071 LIP
Characteristics: xv, 317 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm

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KarenCharMeck
Jul 24, 2017

This book provides a very interesting look at the West Point life. For someone with few connections to the military, it widened my understanding of that lifestyle and the motivations of our military personnel. Lipsky did a great job of balancing factual information about how the military operates (jargon, history, etc.) with personal stories and experiences of the cadets. It was easy to read and worthwhile!

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