Publisher description for Absolutely American : four years at West Point / David Lipsky.


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Counter Drawing on complete, unprecedented access to West Point and its cadets, David Lipsky explores the academy's rich history, describes the demanding regimen that swallows students' days, and examines the Point as a reflection of our society. Is it a quaint anachronism, or does it still embody the ideals of equality, honesty, and loyalty that moved Theodore Roosevelt to proclaim it the most "absolutely American" institution?
Lipsky tackles these questions through superbly crafted portraits of cadets and the elite officers who mold them, following them into classrooms, barracks, mess halls, and military exercises. His reportage extends from 1998 through 2002, arguably the most eventful four years in West Point history. He witnesses the end of hazing, the arrival of TV and telephones in dorm rooms, the exposure and concealment of several scandals, and the dramatic aftermath of 9/11. He depicts young people of every race and class, and details a rigorous training program that erases their preconceptions and makes them a tight-knit community.
Lipsky's extensive experience covering college students for Rolling Stone helped him gain an astonishing degree of trust and truth from both cadets and administrators. They offer candid insights on drug use, cheating, and the army's tortuous search for meaning as new threats loom. Amid all the turmoil, Lipsky finds, to his surprise, that "of all the young people I'd met at all the colleges I'd visited, West Point cadets -- although they are epic complainers -- were the happiest."

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: United States Military Academy History