ALL AMERICAN by Robert McGovern

ALL AMERICAN

Why I Believe in Football, God, and the War in Iraq
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Linebacker turned JAG officer McGovern delivers propaganda for the Bush administration.

His ideologically driven autobiography denounces steroids, extols Ronald Reagan (under whose leadership “everything changed and it changed for the better”) and explains why loyal Americans shouldn’t criticize the war—which, despite media reports to the contrary, the U.S. is handily winning. Before turning to contemporary geopolitics, McGovern describes his picture-perfect childhood growing up in a large Catholic family devoted to church and the gridiron. After a football career that took him to the NFL, he attended law school and enlisted in the Army Reserves as a member of the Judge Army General Corps (he became a military attorney, in lay terms). After 9/11, he was sent to Afghanistan and then Iraq, but McGovern thinks his most significant work happened at Fort Bragg, where he led the prosecution of Hasan Akbar, a member of the 101st Airborne Division who in 2003 launched a grenade attack against the other men in his unit. One of the book’s few gripping passages describes the horrible violence Akbar unleashed on his fellow soldiers. Elsewhere, McGovern’s prose mostly trades in rah-rah clichés. In his less-than-nuanced view, the Iraq war hasn’t included a single misstep. The U.S. is “engaged in a desperate struggle against forces of hate and repression,” and anyone who questions the war has been brainwashed by the media. Once he sets the record straight, all those gullible doubters will “come to agree we should be in Iraq and Afghanistan and we will succeed…if we just have the courage to see this thing through to victory.” McGovern even papers over Abu Ghraib. Although he doesn’t want to “excuse accusations of terrible crimes committed by a few American service personnel,” he insists that when he visited the prison, he found it to be a bastion of “professionalism, leadership and respect for human dignity.”

Destined to win accolades from Fox News.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2007
ISBN: 0-06-122785-4
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2006