Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service


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Discover the moving, entertaining, never-before-told story of how one man found his calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock 'n' roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his true purpose—or so it seemed.

Within a few years, Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary's career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and countless others.

Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump.

The military community's embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary's realization that America's defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary's new calling.

Grateful American, now a New York Times bestseller, documents Gary's dedication to working tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, sharing stories about how he has:

  • Entertained more than a half million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band
  • Raised funds on behalf of veterans
  • Founded the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America's defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need

Grateful American is the moving, entertaining, profoundly gripping story of how one man found his life's work: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

Praise for Grateful American:

"Gary Sinise writes as he lives, and as the artist and actor he has always been: with American authenticity, purpose, and a conviction that is inseparable from his nature."

—Tom Hanks, actor and filmmaker

"No entertainer alive today has visited and performed more for our troops at veterans hospitals and military bases all over the world than Gary Sinise. For years his foundation has built 'smart homes' for our troops that were severely wounded in combat. The book is called Grateful American, and I promise that after you read it you will be grateful for what Gary has accomplished and contributed to our country. He's truly one of a kind."

—Clint Eastwood, actor, director, producer, and musician

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400208128
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Gary Sinise is an Oscar-nominated actor and winner of an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and two Screen Actors Guild awards, and has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, all while advocating for America’s veterans for nearly forty years. For his service work, Gary has been presented with numerous humanitarian awards including the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the George Catlett Marshall Medal from the Association of the US Army, and the Spirit of Hope Award by the Department of Defense. He was named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the United States Navy, was pinned as an honorary Marine, and received the Sylvanus Thayer Award at West Point, given to a civilian "whose character, service, and achievements reflect the ideals prized by the U.S. Military Academy." He's also the recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian honor awarded by the President of the United States to citizens for "exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. "

Marcus Brotherton is a New York Times bestselling author and coauthor. His books include Grateful American with Gary Sinise, Tough As They Come with SSG Travis Mills, and We Who Are Alive & Remain, with twenty of the elite paratroopers from World War II known as the Band of Brothers. He is the recipient of the Christopher Award for literature that “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”

Table of Contents

Prologue: Stunned 1

Chapter 1 Yearning to Breathe Free 11

Chapter 2 Baptism 27

Chapter 3 The Start of Steppenwolf 38

Chapter 4 The Corner of Hollywood and Love 56

Chapter 5 When We Started to Look Beyond Ourselves 70

Chapter 6 Glimpses of Glory 84

Chapter 7 Steinbeck Country 101

Chapter 8 Big Movie Years 116

Chapter 9 Darkness and Light 135

Chapter 10 Turning Point 152

Chapter 11 A Bridge Between Worlds 167

Chapter 12 Honor. Gratitude. Rock and Roll. 184

Chapter 13 Perfect Timing 197

Chapter 14 Helping Children 211

Chapter 15 Flurry of Action 228

Chapter 16 The Gary Sinise Foundation 243

Chapter 17 Why I'm Still on a Mission 261

Called to Action 275

Acknowledgments 277

About the Author 279

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