bookaddict reviewed Absolutely American : Four Years at West Point on
A fascinating account of the West Point program. Very informative, esp for someone like me who knows little about the military life. I loved this book and have it in hardcover--it won't make it onto PBS, sorry! :)
In 1998, the commandants at West Point offered the author, a Rolling Stone reporter, unfettered access to their students. The result is a sunny portrait of a group of young men and women who, as one of them says, "don't quite fit in." Lipsky touches on some recent, controversial attempts at modernizing the academysuch as a ban on hazing and the promotion of "consideration of others" (which in the context of the Army could, in an "extreme instance," mean jumping on a grenade to save the lives of your fellow-soldiers)but he is more effective as a chronicler of personality than of politics. A cadet defaces his uniform to protest softening standards; a bodybuilder worries that his future wife, following him from post to post, won't have a career; a football star fears life after graduation, wondering, "Can I think for myself?" Though initially ill-disposed toward the military, Lipsky eventually found that "of all the young people I'd met, the West Point cadetsalthough they are grand, epic complainerswere the happiest."
NEW YORKER REVIEW
This book is very well written, and has educated me of West Point in ways I do not believe can be learned elsewhere besides knowing someone who attends the academy. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Military. Butter Bars rule!