Absolutely American is the story of the West Point Military Academy. West Point has a nearly mythological status in American history, and especially in American Military History. It was founded at the orders of George Washington and among its graduates we can count: Ulysses S Grant, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf. The purpose of West Point is to take young American civilians and produce fully competent Army officers who are ready to lead men. Author David Lipsky was given unprecedented access to West Point. He could go anywhere, anytime and ask any question of anyone. He stayed at West Point for four years, learning the institution and following the lives of the cadets. Absolutely American is the story of those four years and it gives us a look into West Point.

David Lipsky takes us inside West Point for the four years that a cadet will attend. We follow the cadets through induction, basic training (a course called The Beast ), and through each of their years. We get to have an inside look at the cadets and how they view their future service in the Army, their hopes and why they enrolled at West Point. While we only get to scratch the surface of most cadets, it is a fascinating look at these young men and women who are willing to serve our country as officers in the United States Army. We follow some cadets who are absolutely upstanding soldiers and may very well reach the highest levels of leadership if they make a career out of the Army. We meet a cadet who at first is an underachiever, but over the course of his four years he grows into a leader. We also meet several cadets who are just scraping by and we are simply waiting for them to wash out of West Point.

One thing that I appreciated about this book is that we actually get to feel what the cadets are going through (as much as possible), and we start to care for them and cheer for their successes and hope that they don t mess up or fail. By the end of the book, I felt a pride both for West Point as well as the cadets who are succeeding at becoming excellent officers in the Army. I felt pride in their adherence to honor, duty, service, and loyalty. I felt pride in their patriotism and their own pride in doing the job as well as they possibly can. I am glad that these are the caliber of men and women who will be the officers of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

No prior knowledge of West Point (or even the military) is necessary for enjoyment of this book. I found it both informative as well as entertaining, and I would definitely recommend this book as one to check out.