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Skies to Conquer: A Year Inside the Air Force Academy
     

Skies to Conquer: A Year Inside the Air Force Academy

4.0 11
by Diana Jean Schemo
 

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A former New York Times reporter's year behind the scenes at the scandal-ridden Air Force Academy

Diana Jean Schemo covered the Air Force Academy's sexual assault scandal in 2003, one of a series of academy embarrassments that have included drug use, rape complaints, and charges of evangelical officers pushing Christianity on cadets of all faiths.

Overview

A former New York Times reporter's year behind the scenes at the scandal-ridden Air Force Academy

Diana Jean Schemo covered the Air Force Academy's sexual assault scandal in 2003, one of a series of academy embarrassments that have included drug use, rape complaints, and charges of evangelical officers pushing Christianity on cadets of all faiths. Today, the institution is in flux—a fascinating time to look at the changes being made and the experience of today's cadets.

Schemo followed a handful of academy cadets through the school year. From the admissions process and punishing weeks of basic training to graduation, she shares the triumphs and tribulations of the cadets and the struggle of the academy's leaders to set their embattled alma mater on a straighter path.

  • Follows cadets in all grades, with insights on day-to-day academy life and training
  • Written by a veteran reporter, two-time foreign correspondent and Pulitzer Prize nominee, with excellent contacts at the academy
  • Includes 38 black-and-white photographs

Like David Lipsky's successful Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point , this book offers a fascinating window on the training of our military today. But Schemo's book updates the story: the seniors were the first class to sign up after the attacks of 9/11, and the road to graduation, this time, leads to an America at war.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470046371
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
04/26/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
891,664
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Diana Jean Schemo, a veteran journalist and foreign bureau chief at the Baltimore Sun and the New York Times, has covered poverty and child abuse, culture, religion, and education. Her reports have tracked rebels in Colombia, counterfeiting in Paraguay, and indentured servitude in Brazil. She has written from more than twenty-five countries and regions, including Somalia, Iraq, Israel, and the Amazon. For more, visit www.skiestoconquer.com.

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Skies to Conquer: A Year Inside the Air Force Academy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In 2 years I hope to be one of the doolies described in this book. So far I have only read the sample but when I have the money I intend to buy this book! It made me want to got to the AFA even more than I already do! Cant wait to read the rest!!!! - A future cadet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is a little scattered like he starts talking about the second beast then he starts talking about punisment drills the combat drills and then it turns to talking about a cadets life at home i am like whoa uh... did i just miss something? Not the best book i have read
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mmlall More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm not really sure what to write about this book. My husband is a 2007 Academy grad, a senior when Schemo visited the Academy, and we had a couple of good laughs from the book and reminiscing about Academy life and BS. I have read some other books (ie "Absolutely American") that chronicled life at the other service academies, and I thought those were better written. I did think she did a fairly good job describing BCT (basic) and did a fantastic job interviewing the FRESHMAN cadets, but really flaked on learning about the rest of cadet culture. I think I would have liked to hear more about the culture from the inside; the pranks, the food, the dorm life, cadet relationships with people from "normal school" etc. I grew tired of hearing about the same four degrees complaining, and thought she was really limited to whom she spoke to about cadet life. I would have liked her to venture into other squads and seen how different life would have been in a different squad. There were also a lot of things that she seemed to have 'googled' to find the meaning. For example, I've been around the AF now for 10 years, and dated my husband throughout his life at the Academy, and I've never been told that "Smack" actually had an acronym behind it; if it originally stood for something, it certainly wasn't broadcasted in my husband's 2 squads at the academy. I also question where she got her information about 2007 feeling left out because they didn't have Recognition. I was at the Academy 4 or 5 times a year and got to know a lot of the cadets in his squad, and I have never heard many of the feelings '07 supposedly had. My husband is reading this next and I can't wait to hear what he has to say. I might have to update my review after he finishes...we actually have a long list of other friends who went to the AFA we are stationed with who would like to read the book as well. So overall, I guess if you have no background knowledge of the AFA, it could be a good read. It gives a fairly accurate example of what to expect your freshman year if you're interested in attending, but I think it really missed what the academy really is like.
TerBenn More than 1 year ago
I picked up a copy of Skies To Conquer while browsing in a B&N store while traveling, because I have a daughter who is a cadet at USAFA. As I perused several random pages I quickly realized that Schemo's account of cadet life at the Academy is VERY true to life! My daughter, who is in the class of 2011 completed Basic Cadet Training in the summer of 2007, one year after Schemo covered BCT for her book. The excerpts I read brought back a flood of memories of my daughter's first year at USAFA, as the struggles and emotions of the cadets in Schemo's stories captured the essence of my daughter's journey through the crucible that is a "doolie's" life. Schemo has done a masterful job of detailing the hardships that a four-dig (freshman) faces while the academy, mostly through the energy of the upperclassmen, strives to mold them into the leaders that our future Air Force will demand. The author moves deftly through the lives of several cadets, doolies and upperclassmen alike, in creating a captivating account of life inside a military academy. She does an artful job of portraying the grueling, even traumatic, training regimen and lifestyles of the cadets who must develope leadership skills as they wrestle with academic, athletic and military responsibilities on a daily basis. I was able to recognize almost every experience Schemo related, from the details my daughter has shared with me these past three years, first as a Basic Cadet and eventually as a cadre herself. Yet, there were still plenty of surprises as the author peered into the personalities, dreams and pasts of several cadets, and how these shaped their attitudes and behaviors at the academy. It is an excellent book and, much like a rare and exemplary meal, I had to force myself to slow down and savor the experience. It was a very good investment of time and money. I plan to suggest it to EVERY parent who's child is even remotely considering applying to a military academy, and I am definitely going to encourage all my fellow members of the USAFA Parents Club of Southeastern Michigan to grab up a copy of their own quickly. It should be a "must read" for every member of every chapter of USAFA Parents Clubs! Terry Bennett
Grover-Beach More than 1 year ago
The author, a New York Times reporter, reports on the Air Force Academy experience and its rigors (with an emphasis on rigors). Unfortunately she almost totally ignores the academic side, which is what makes up most of the Academy life. Many of the cadets are involved in cutting edge research. Reporting on their trials and tribulations on such projects and the pressure for academic performance would add significantly to her understanding Academy life. She interviews a number of members of Classes of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and reports on their progress through the Academy. She includes a number of interesting and often touching stories of cadets as they become molded into Air Force Officers. The sexual assault scandals of a few years ago seem to be repeatedly brought up in her writings, even when they do not fit in the storyline. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in life at the service academies, and especially anyone thinking of entering one of the service academies, as well as their parents. It will give them a glimpse of the Academy life style.