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Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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“What does it take to succeed with honor in America? Soldiers First answers that vital question in a compelling and entertaining way.” ―Bill O'Reilly, Anchor, Fox News Channel
“As a college head football coach for fifty-seven years, and as an avid fan of military history and the men and women who serve our country, I've always had a ton of respect and admiration for the United States Military Academy and its football program. In Soldiers First, Joe Drape does a great job of documenting the stories of the men who play football at West Point and then go on to protect all of us, becoming America's heroes.” ―Bobby Bowden, former head football coach, Florida State University
“Joe Drape, the master of living the story, then writing it with style and vision, has provided the leaders of college football a blueprint for change. Soldiers First is the story of how football was once played, and should be today. Most of the elite players in college football would not last two weeks at West Point – marching before dawn, competing academically on an Ivy League level, and sleepwalking to football practice. A tremendous story.” ―Jim Dent, author of The Junction Boys and Courage Beyond the Game
“West Point is a special place, one that tests cadets in all aspects of life and teaches character and leadership around the clock. Soldiers First captures its rigors as well as its rewards for a group of Army football players whose hearts are bigger than their talents but together find sheer joy in competition.” ―Mike Krzyzewski, head basketball coach, Duke University, West Point class of 1969
“If you are growing cynical about college football - and who isn't? - this book is your antidote. Joe Drape delivers first-class reportage into a Division I football program, West Point, and the military itself. His vivid scenes and stories will not allow you to look at any of those the same way again. Soldiers First is a revelation - and it is unforgettable.” ―John U. Bacon, bestselling author of Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football
About the Author
Joe Drape is the author of the New York Times bestseller Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, The Race for the Triple Crown, and Black Maestro. He is an award-winning reporter for The New York Times, having previously worked for The Dallas Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, he lives in New York City with his wife and son.
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Top Customer Reviews
and just what it takes and means to play football at West Point.
I have an uncle that was a West Point alum, and as a swimming
coach, made sure that we made the annual swimming meet at both
West Point and Annapolis.
Soldiers First, gives you an inside look at what it football means, and
how much losing affects these young warriors, as you are taken along
for the ride, from Day One, through "Orders Day", and beyond.
I believe everyone should, take a walk on the hallowed grounds that make
up West Point, and reflect on all that those that have stood where you are
This is a great read during fall football season, but I have also re-read it, during
the Spring and Summer.
I highly recommend it.
My only downfall to the book was that it seemed to end without really getting to the "heart" of what the author was really trying to tell.
I have several friends who have asked, "Why can't Army beat Navy?" or have enjoyed saying things like, "Ya, San Jose State killed Navy!" One just needs to attend one Army Navy game and witness General Odierno passing out Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Medal of Honor awards to soldiers who have given everything and/or lost limbs in the defense of our nation to understand Army's plight on the grid iron. Army's football challenges are a relection of our nation's challenges and speaks volumes about us as a nation. The Military, Naval, and Air Force Academy teams are everyone's teams and they are all winners in my book and this book!
Thanks Joe! Well written!
I have the utmost respect for this institution and think that Mr. Drape did a great job showing us why West Point is such a special place.