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Absolutely American

Absolutely American
1st edition
Author David Lipsky
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
July 4, 2003
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 384
ISBN 1-4000-7693-5

Absolutely American is a 2003 book by American author David Lipsky.


The book recounts four years in the lives of students at the United States Military Academy.


The book's genesis was a piece Lipsky wrote for Rolling Stone[1]—the longest article published in that magazine since Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The book follows cadets in one West Point company, G-4, from their arrival to graduation. As Newsweek noted, composition of the book required "14,000 pages of interview transcripts, 60 notebooks and four pairs of boots."[2] As The New York Times wrote, Lipsky was not initially well disposed toward the military: "He was, like most young people, entirely cut off from military life. The Army was the one profession his father absolutely refused to let him consider."[1]


Absolutely American was enthusiastically received. In Time, novelist and critic Lev Grossman wrote that it was "fascinating, funny, and tremendously well-written. Take a good look: this is the face America turns to most of the world, and until now it's one that most of us have never seen. A mesmerizing and powerfully human spectacle."[3] Newsweek called the book "addictive." In the New York Times Book Review, David Brooks called the book "wonderfully told," praising it as both "a superb description of modern military culture, and one of the most gripping accounts of university life I have read."[4] The work was a New York Times best-seller, and was selected as required reading for the incoming class at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.[5] Film and television rights were acquired by Disney.[6]

Awards and honors

The book was an and Time magazine best book of the year.


  1. ^ a b Brooks, David, "Huah!" The New York Times Book Review, July 13, 2003.
  2. ^ Gegax, Trent, "Getting The Point," Newsweek, July 7, 2003.
  3. ^ Grossman, Lev (2003-07-06). "Life On The Long Gray Line". Time. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  4. ^ Brooks, David (2003-07-13). "Huah!". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  5. ^ Associated Press, "UNC committee picks book about West Point for reading program," February 25, 2004.
  6. ^ Sauriol, Patrick, "ABC Goes West Point," Variety, August 13, 2003.

Further reading