Absolutely American : Four Years At West Point by David Lipsky

Absolutely American : Four Years At West Point by David Lipsky

Author: David Lipsky
View book: Absolutely American : Four Years At West Point

Lipsky, a Rolling Stone writer and an award-winning novelist, provides an in-depth look into daily life at the U.S. Military Academy during its most chaotic era. In 1998, West Point granted Lipsky an unprecedented opportunity to explore the motivations behind cadets’ sacrifices by allowing him unrestricted access to the institution. Lipsky followed a class of cadets from their arrival to their graduation, documenting their experiences in mess halls, barracks, classrooms, bars, and training exercises.

Through these personal narratives, Lipsky delves into the broader theme of the Academy as a reflection of American society. He questions whether its longstanding principles of equality, patriotism, and honor are still relevant or have become outdated relics. Lipsky explores the transformative period in West Point’s history, known as The Changes, as it faced numerous shifts in policy and practice. The author uncovers previously untold scandals and captures the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, which forced cadets to confront the reality of becoming officers in wartime.

Absolutely American introduces readers to an intriguing cast of characters, including a former Eagle Scout struggling to adapt to every aspect of the program, a rebellious party-goer who despises the military and joined West Point for football, a farm-raised soldier with a surprising affinity for Georgia O’Keeffe’s early work, and a female cadet aspiring to a career in the beauty industry after her time in the Army.

These cadets, along with their classmates, undergo profound transformations during the course of their West Point education. Some thrive under the rigorous regimen, while others constantly battle to simply survive. A few even choose to abandon the fight altogether.

Lipsky’s background in covering college students for Rolling Stone magazine gives him the unique advantage of gaining the trust and openness of both the cadets and administrators. Through candid interviews, they share their insights on topics such as drug use, cheating, romance, loyalty, duty, patriotism, and the Army’s search for meaning as new threats emerge.

“The Parrot and the Igloo: Climate Change and the Culture War”

Hey everyone, Marshall here. Welcome back to The Realignment. Today’s episode features author David Lipsky, discussing his new book The Parrot and the Igloo which explores the intersection of climate change, science, and culture war. Lipsky highlights the importance of understanding how climate change has shifted from being purely scientific and policy-based to being deeply embedded in the culture war. He emphasizes the need to recognize the role of expertise, trust, and basic science in shaping the climate change narrative over the past few decades. Lipsky also emphasizes the importance of finding ways to navigate and overcome the cultural divisions that impede progress on climate change and other important issues. The conversation delves into topics such as the historical context of climate change, the role of technological solutions, and alternative paths that could have been taken to address climate change. Lipsky offers a thought-provoking analysis of the challenges and opportunities in addressing climate change and emphasizes the importance of finding common ground and collaborative solutions.

This conversation is a must-listen for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of climate change and the potential paths forward. Whether you are focused on the issue of climate change specifically or interested in broader questions of how to navigate and address polarizing issues, there is something in this conversation for everyone. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this insightful and engaging conversation with David Lipsky.

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