Book by: Steve Eubanks
Review by: Jennifer F. Lewis
Undergraduate Programs Officer
Carl H. Linder College of Business
University of Cincinnati
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have become more outwardly patriotic. There has been a boom in numerous military related organizations for both active members and civilians. Throughout the turmoil and uncertainty, football seemed to hold the nation together for at least one game that fall and provide hope that the Unites States would prevail. All American is the story of two young men who both played in the 2001 Army-Navy football game and the war they fought in Iraq. It is an account of extraordinary men and how they played and fought.
All American is segmented into three parts: Players, Warriors, and Survivors. Players is an account detailing what being a West Point cadet (Chad) and a Naval Academy midshipman (Brian) is like for an athlete. The story of how each of these young men found their calling to serve is explained including their struggles in playing collegiate football through injury, losing seasons, and the September 11, 2001 attack. The reader is given a glimpse of the struggles on and off the field. Warriors depicts each man’s account of war (at home and abroad). War is described in a way that the reader creates their own imagery. The level of detail is enough to paint the picture, but not so graphic that readers will be put off. Survivors illustrates civilian life for these two decorated ‘heroes’ (according to the military). Chad had a more difficult transition to the civilian life and held a few different jobs before settling into one with the FBI and finally branching out to create his own consulting company. Brian’s transition was somewhat easier since he started a career in MMA prior to serving overseas. All American concludes with the 10-year anniversary of the Army-Navy game in 2011. Both Brian and Chad endured what many men and women who serve see both mentally and physically in battle. Their story is one of courage, leadership, triumph, and persistence.
The academic advising community has a lot to gain from reading All American. There are more Veterans in college than ever and it is important to remember that every student, military or civilian, has a story of their own. Everyone carries their own battle to fight and win. Advisors should guide and fight with students as they navigate the system, much like overseas missions. By showing them the way, students can create their own path. Positive transition to college at any stage of the game is vital for student success. At times, advisors should ask about student transitions, seek out their stories, and dig deeper to uncover any struggles they may have to best support students. Process sometimes overrides the relationship. Advisors need to remember to establish the relationship for the process to be successful.
All American is a wonderful book which marries the academic, athletic, and military life both on and off the battleground. It clearly portrays the struggle and success men and women in uniform face daily. The book explains military terms in a way anyone can understand. In relation to advising, connections need to be drawn by the reader; they are not implicit as the book is a story, not a guide or model for advising. This book will capture readers who want to learn more about military life at both the Army and Naval academies and how their formal education translates to war and beyond.
All American. (2013). Book by Steve Eubnaks. Review by Jennifer F. Lewis. New York, NY: Harper Collins. 304 pp., $27.00 (Hardback). ISBN 978-0-06-220280-2