Skies to Conquer: A Year Inside the Air Force Academy

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Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. 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 , 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. About 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.

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Skies to Conquer : A Year Inside the Air Force Academy by Diana Jean Schemo (2010, Hardcover)

Write a Review. Related Searches. Acclaimed national security columnist and noted cultural critic Fred Kaplan looks past the s to Acclaimed national security columnist and noted cultural critic Fred Kaplan looks past the s to the year that really changed AmericaWhile conventional accounts focus on the sixties as the era of pivotal change that swept the nation, Fred Kaplan argues View Product. It is presented against a summary background of the entire life of the She married Simon Bradstreet in , and two years later the young family sailed for Massachusetts Bay.

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Skies to Conquer : A Year Inside the Air Force Academy

Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jul 15, Liralen rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , make-love-not-war , education , reviewed , z , take-back-the-night. Schemo spent a year following a number of cadets through their first year at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and this is the result.

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A minor twist, though—she'd gotten interested in the Academy when she reported on a sexual assault scandal there. That twist is important for a couple of reasons. First, Schemo periodically refers back to it, though it is not until late in the book that she t Skies to Conquer is similar in premise to the better-known Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point. First, Schemo periodically refers back to it, though it is not until late in the book that she ties it more directly to the book's trajectory.

I suspect that she did not go into this year with an open mind, and to an extent that seems demonstrated by the cadets she focuses on and the inferences she draws from events. In any case, I think the book suffers a bit from that distance. I wished Schemo had, like Lipsky, spent or been able to spend more time with the cadets; in some cases a year is only long enough for a cadet to figure out whether or not he or she will stick it out. Everything I've heard of military academies also indicates that the first year is very, very different from the rest of the experience, so while I don't think it's unreasonable to focus on the first year I also don't think it's representative of the fuller picture.

If Schemo was, for whatever reason, limited in the amount of time she could spend there—four years is a major commitment! But that distance manifests itself in other ways as well: when a cadet is called up on an honor code charge, Schemo is asked not to speak to him until the situation has played itself out. More than once she mentions students censoring themselves, or others, because a reporter Schemo was present.

Maybe she didn't spend as much time with them as Lipsky did, or maybe she didn't fit in as well, or maybe the same sorts of things happened with Lipsky but he didn't notice or didn't mention them. I don't know. Maybe, too, it's unfair to compare this to Absolutely American , but, well, it's hard not to. I am left, in the end, feeling as though Schemo is trying to do something big and falls a bit short of the mark—that there is a significant accomplishment to this book, yes, but that there's far more left unsaid than she'd hoped for.

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I return, as Schemo does at the end of the book, to the question of sexual harassment. She cites some appalling statistics 'A survey of military academies in the spring of In a survey The alarming numbers that emerged in these anonymous surveys are in striking contrast to the officially reported cases of sexual harassment: only thirty-two incidents, from to , at all three service academies combined ' —emphasis in original , and I wonder: did she originally intent to cover this more, in this book?

Why did she not? The one cadet she writes about in any depth who came forward quietly about sexual harassment is unwilling to talk about it with Schemo. Schemo changes the names of both that cadet and the cadet she accused, saying that it 'did not seem fair to name him publicly'.

Why did she not? The one cadet she writes about in any depth who came forward quietly about sexual harassment is unwilling to talk about it with Schemo.

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Schemo changes the names of both that cadet and the cadet she accused, saying that it 'did not seem fair to name him publicly'. And in what I find perhaps the strangest choice of the book it is that accused cadet, in another benign context, to whom Schemo devotes the final words of the book. Believe it or not, I'm not actually trying to tear the book down; I love this kind of research-and-observation book and am happy to have run across it at the library. It's more that, as often as not, I use the review space to untangle the mental knots a book has left me with. Here there are plenty. Jun 26, Megan rated it liked it.

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Well, I'm not really sure what to write about this book. My husband is a 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 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 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 So overall, I guess if you have no background knowledge of the AFA, it could be a good read.


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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. Apr 16, Anne Marie rated it really liked it. An informative peek into the rigor, discipline, and pace of the Academy experience with special focus on Doolies freshmen and Firsties seniors. The author had unprecedented access into lives and stories of individual cadets, sharing their backstories and experiences, and also interjected overarching stories that make up the Academy's current environment, for example, the rape scandel of the mids and the resulting evangelical scandel that followed.

The picture of an ever-evolving Acade An informative peek into the rigor, discipline, and pace of the Academy experience with special focus on Doolies freshmen and Firsties seniors.


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The picture of an ever-evolving Academy emerges, one dedicated to a rich military tradition that nonetheless is responsive and adaptive. Sep 23, Laurie rated it liked it Shelves: adult. Wanted to find out more about the place my brother's step-grandson was going to. Sep 17, Sandhillsandsea rated it liked it Shelves: military.

A Look Inside the Air Force Academy

Interesting look at the first year for cadets at the Air Force Academy. I would have enjoyed a broader look at the unique culture of the Academy but overall it was an enjoyable read. Jul 04, Jeannine rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Very interesting but the narrator's style bothered me a bit. It felt intrusive to the story being told. Jan 24, Robert Devine rated it liked it. James Sarlo rated it it was amazing Jul 12, James Sarlo rated it really liked it Aug 01, Alex Pennetti rated it liked it Jan 24,



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