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Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point

Lipsky, David

1,177 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 061809542X / ISBN 13: 9780618095421
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 2003
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

317 pages. Illus., bibliography, slight creasing to DJ edges, small crease in front DJ flap. Signed by the author. 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. 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. Bookseller Inventory # 56336

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition. First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Individuality would not seem to be a highly prized virtue at West Point. After all, new cadets arriving at the military academy are not required to pack anything more than a toothbrush and some underwear since they will be issued everything else. But despite their uniformity and disciplined bearing, the cadets profiled in David Lipsky's Absolutely American are still college kids who have moved away from their hometowns to figure out what to do with their lives. Lipsky was given unprecedented access at West Point and spent a full four years following a class from wide-eyed arrival through graduation. The most fascinating cadets are the ones who don't fit the gung-ho West Point stereotype. George Rash faces expulsion on a regular basis but persistently hangs in, "Huck" Finn just wants to play football but becomes more enamored of the military life than he ever expected, and Christi Cicerelle stays perfectly coiffed and, as she says, "girly," even while becoming a highly skilled soldier. Lipsky's tenure came at a pivotal time in the institution's history: hazing had recently been discontinued (part of a series of reforms referred to with both gravity and a little remorse as "The Changes") and the attacks of September 11, 2001 placed the United States in a war which the cadets would have to fight. The academy, in Lipsky's portrayal, demands much of its charges, its standards are high, and the possibility of being "separated" from West Point looms large for any cadet not up to par. Yet the cadets are shown as largely happy people, using the harsh demands of a West Point experience to find the kind of structure and purpose that other college students would envy. Lipsky, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, creates portraits that are, by turns, hilarious, touching, harrowing, disappointing and joyful. As his subjects finally graduate and launch their careers, readers may feel like a proud parent or friend standing in the crowd and cheering their accomplishments. --John Moe

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