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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
39
Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on December 29, 2016
If you are an Army football fan or are a sports athlete in high school thinking of a possible academy possibility, this book should be a read. It is clearly written and offers much history, as well as, a ton of realistic points and true examples of real people's lives in the academy. I enjoyed it!
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on January 28, 2014
Anyone considering accepting an offfer to play football at Army should read this book and get a more complete picture of what you are choosing to accept. For the right person, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. For a different person, it could be a big mistake. This book will help you to understand if it is right for you.

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.
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on March 1, 2013
Joe Drape is a columnist for the NY Times who became interested in Army football through his son's enthusiasm for "the good guys." To write this book, he was provided unusual access to players and coaches on the Army team during the 2011 season, and he tells the story of the season through portrayals of lives of individual cadet football players from plebes to firsties (freshmen to seniors for those who don't know cadet slang). It does a good job of portraying the challenges of balancing the rigors of cadet life with playing football at FBS level. With the recent lifting of the ban on distributing printed materials to recruits, I would hope that he Army Athletic Association provides a copy of this book to each of its football recruits, and perhaps recruits for other sports as well. If you're already a fan of Army football, you'll appreciate the insights, and if you're not already a fan, it may make you one.
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on December 29, 2012
Army football is not the powerhouse it used to be and may never get there again. The Academy firmly adheres to the goal that their mission is to train military officers and not develop football players. No coddling of athletes here. Players live by the same rules as the rest of the cadets, which are very demanding and time consuming. As a result their focus is not totally on football. Training time suffers. In addition, the 5 year service obligation upon graduation is a barrier to blue chip players who have pro aspirations. Finally, facing an almost certain active duty tour in a combat zone leads many parents of potential candidates to discourage them to pass up the Academy altogether. However, Army footballers are still a special, dedicated breed committed to excellence and a winning attitude. This book puts it all in perspective.
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on August 15, 2014
A very good football story of how football helps mold leaders and how their academy training followed them into their military careers. Totally a great story from academy and the character molding and into active duty.
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on December 9, 2012
The members of Army's football team have it a lot harder than most other college level teams. These young men not only have to carry a heavy load in the class, but also have sto be full time cadets, as well as train for football, There sare very few division 1 football players who could do the work and carry the load of a West Point cadet. Go Army
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on March 24, 2013
I found it to be an interesting book that shows how tough it is to play football in a military institute. I never really thought about how the team was still required to fulfill their obligations (study, military drills, week long stays out in the field, etc...) AND find time to practice football, especially having to try to keep weight on and not lose it due to the demanding schedules that is required to make it through West Point. Most other players from major universities have people waiting on them , helping with "lighter loads" concerning studies, "sleeping in " before afternoon practices, recovery times after games, etc... These cadets have none of that. They have to play through any pain and injury and still be able to "bring the fight' to an opposing team or to an enemy wanting to hurt or destroy our nation.
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.
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This is an outstanding story about Tradition, Honor and Pride.
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
standing.
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.
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on July 22, 2017
Soldiers First was a solid description of the Army Black Knights' 2011 football season. Author Joe Drape gave you a good dosage of football and military life in this book, which is why I bought the book in the first place.

When you read books like this, books that are of the football/military genre, you gain more appreciation for what cadets at West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy have to go through on a daily basis during a school year.

I bought this book for the narration of the Black Knights' 2011 season, but I ended up coming away from the book with some more appreciation for football players at military academies.
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on October 19, 2013
I just really enjoyed reading this book... There's so much more to life at West Point than just football.. These are the guys we should be watching weekend.
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