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Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point
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Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  125 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Bestselling author Joe Drape reveals the unique pressures and expectations that make a year of Army football so much more than just a tally of wins and losses.

The football team at the U.S. Military Academy is not like other college football teams. At other schools, athletes are catered to and coddled at every turn. At West Point, they carry the same arduous load as their f
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Times Books
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Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
As someone who doesn't follow football or the military, I was interested in this book simply because the people that fight for our country do hold a special place in my heart even if I'm not up-to-date on what's going on out there. What makes a soldier intrigues me. How they go through such grueling training. What inspires them? So I entered the giveaway, and won.

All that being said, this book was amazingly easy to follow, even for one so out of the loop as me. I was inspired by the team's atti
Troy Jordan
This book taught me that there's more to life than football. If you go to West point then you go to become a soldier not a football player. if you want to be an athlete you need to go to a regular school. Coach Eric built a special team this year and got what he wanted, to sing last.
Jim V
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting read about being a scholar, leader, soldier and if time allows playing a little bit of D1 football. These guys play for the love of the game, but know they are in school for a much greater purpose.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Really gets behind the scenes of life and football at West Point. It's hard not to admire and respect these young men. The author, though, perhaps goes too far when he starts referring to them by first name. All in all, an entertaining and informative read.
Blake Knudsen
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book a while back when I had aspirations to be a Pointer. This is just s great read on the soon to be officers of the Army, who ultimately are not just playing college ball, but going on to serve this great country. Great read!
Priscilla Melchior
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Anyone who loves college football has been mourning for the past few years as power after vaunted power has been humbled by scandal. Division I sports is reeling under the weight of investigations at schools such as Penn State, USC, Auburn, Miami and the University of North Carolina, with no end in sight.

Enter New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape and his latest offering, "Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country and Football at West Point." If Drape gets his way, we'll all view the Black Knights of
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book about Army Football at the United States Military Academy at West Point offers up a different perspective on college game in a number of ways.
A timely book as we again come into a new season. With the scandals of Penn State, Ohio State, and others usually dominating the sports news Joe Drape reveals a side of the college game we don’t hear much about. One based on dedication, discipline, and personal sacrifice, what Army football is about.

He takes us through the 2011 season for the Bla
This should be required reading for all college football fans.

ETA 1/3/15: I just reread this book for work (it's January's book for my nonfiction book discussion group at the library) and this time I have a little more to say. I stand by my 2013 "review": this book should be required reading for college football fans. But I would just as soon recommend it to non-football fans, too. While there are play-by-play breakdowns of several Army football games from their 2011 season, the book is about s
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
O.k. so i won this on goodreads from firstreads. I thought the book was extremely well written, almost too good. I had to re-read through parts of it to fully understand what was going on. I loved the idea that this group of soldiers gave an insightful view on how much they sacrifice to be able to hold up perfect grades on top of playing some very competitive games of football, and being soldiers for our country. These men show an extraordinary skill of tolerance, and also patience if you ask me ...more
Joalby Phoenix
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I feel that the writing, attention to detail and the writers desire to showcase a side of not only the US Army, but of College Football and West Point were presented in a way that made it accessible to the reader.
The selection of what was presented was done in a way that all readers, regardless of their chosen genres of literature could come away enjoying the book.
I have only recently become pulled in by USA Military History, Military Academies, and presen
Samantha Plotkin
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point was an interesting look into the lives of the soldiers who play for the Army football team at West Point. I found the layout of the book somewhat spasmodic, jumping from player to player and through the different facets of West Point life seemingly randomly at times. (view spoiler) ...more
Ruth Ann
Great non-fiction writing! Joe Drape has captured the spirit of West Point and the special place Coach Ellerson has in the faculty - honoring academics, and leadership and military training, before Division I football. What other college sports program can say anything similar?

Ellerson's coaching style may need a couple of more seasons to show success on the field, but the young men he leads each year are fortunate to have him now. He allows football to be fun, although demanding; he adjusts pr
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I won this book from a pre release give away.
I thought that this was a really good book. I learned about about how the foot ball team at west point conducts itself and how much of a sacrifice and hard time it is going to the united states military academy. I have always wondered why the ARMY football team seems to not be any good while Air Force and navy have been doing really for the last decade. This book gives good insight into that aspect as well as the changes that are being made to try an
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
I'd read Joe Drape's other book on Kansas high school football and had to read this one about West Point football's 2011 season. Same formula as Joe immerses himself into the lives of the team. Seen it, heard it, lived it, nothing new here for me as I'm a USNA grad (the enemy who is a brother) but it was told with passion and intensity just like the other book, so much so that even I was cheering them on (except for when they played Navy).
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Okay book. Second book by the author. For some reason I find kind of fascinating stories about the US Military academy. Have other better books about West Point but the author was passionate about the story of the 2010 Football team at the Academy. You fall in love with some of the atheletes portrayed in the book, and learn to respect and admire the committment they have made to our country.
Chris K.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved learning more about Army football. This book told a great story and everything was in detail. It explained very well how difficult being a student at Army is, especially a football player. I rated this book four stars because the story was told extremely well but it was a little boring at times and repeated itself a little bit. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in football or Army. It will give you a well-written story with many interesting facts about Army football.
Marc Friend
The book started out very good and had me hooked. Once i got to about chapter 6 I found myself getting bored with the tiny details of all the different stories which made it difficult to finish the book. I pushed passed it and finished overall not a bad book. Just the tiny little details had me bored.
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great memories of a fun year to be an NBA fan. I remember the last second win over Chicago live on TNT, and the win in Utah. I miss the Charlotte Hornets.

Oh, and George Shinn was/is a jerk. Capital J. Yep, he helped .. emphasis on helped .. bring the NBA to NC, but did it in a very un-Southern way.
Bill Allen
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very good book. Well written because it covers both the academy/soldier aspect (as the title implies) but also the football story as well. These cadets are a special breed all unto themselves and should be honored for their commitment and service to our country !!
Wynne Wages
These young men who play for America's military service academies are the ones our sons should be looking up to...not the over-indulged athletes who tweet their "top 5" schools during recruiting, flip commitments like pancakes and make a 3-ring circus of signing day. Read this book.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great! What these guys learn in te classroom they take to the football field. What they learn on the field they take back to the classroom They combine both for life. These guys are leaders for life.
I love anything by Joe Drape
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent account of football at USMA, and life in general at USMA from the perspective of the football players. Makes me want to see some games up there!
Mike Ryan
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book, I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys military history and learning more about the soldiers who protect us.
David Carraturo
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Oct 27, 2014
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Sep 04, 2012
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Mar 12, 2017
Jake Kirkendall
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read about one of our opponents this season
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Feb 04, 2017
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Joe Drape is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of the New York Times Best Seller Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen. He also is the author of The Race for the Triple Crown and Black Maestro. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, he previously worked for The Dallas Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he doesn’t live in Kan ...more
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