Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service

by Gary Sinise

Other Format(Unabridged Library Edition)

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Overview

New York Times Bestseller: 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.

"The book is called Grateful American, and I promise you after you read it you will be grateful for what Gary has accomplished and contributed to our country." — Clint Eastwood

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 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 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 mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman, George Wallace, CSI:NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, entertaining more than a half million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and eventually founding 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 calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781721346462
Publisher: Brilliance Audio Lib Edn
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Edition description: Unabridged Library Edition
Sales rank: 1,095,738
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.10(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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Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service (Signed Book) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
A great picture into what our soldiers have gone through and the evolution of a young wild kid to a man who humbly helps as he can.
medwards429 More than 1 year ago
“The nation which forgets it defenders will be itself forgotten” – Calvin Coolidge Gary Sinise, an Oscar nominated actor for his supporting role as Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 blockbuster “Forrest Gump”, has also appeared in other big screen roles such as Apollo 13, Ransom, Reindeer Games, Mission to Mars, and Of Mice and Men, which he also directed. This book details Gary’s life from his youth in Chicago, to the founding of the Steppenwolf Theater Company, to directing, to acting, his passion and advocacy for those who serve our country, as well as forming the Gary Sinise Foundation. With sincerity, and sometimes humor-infused story-telling, Gary recounts the events of his misdirected youth, his marriage, his children, and his acting career. He includes the good and not so good sides of his own personal life and marriage. His admiration of his wife through her heart-breaking struggles is refreshing and honest, if not downright inspiring. After acting in a high school production of “West Side Story”, Gary found his calling as an actor. But, it would be a few decades before he would be able to see success as an actor. The role of “Lt. Dan” became more than an Oscar-nominated supporting role though. It resonated with disabled veterans, Vietnam vets, and inspired service members. Lt. Dan’s struggles were not some Hollywood construct – but instead actual struggles. Gary’s positive performance re-ignited recognition of their plight, especially after Vietnam. After being recognized and honored for his portrayal, it inspired Gary to do more to honor our military and thank them for their service. Instead of walking away from that role and shun the typecasting, he later used it to propel his own mission forward, starting with USO handshake tours, moving up to performing for troops. It wasn’t until 9/11 that everything changed and “Lt. Dan” was recalled to active duty. This time he wouldn’t be fighting a war – he’d be providing moral support and encouragement for the troops. The character’s name eventually became the name of Gary Sinse’s band formed in 2003 (not named until 2004) – the “Lt. Dan Band” had one sole focus – the troops – to entertain them, give them messages of love and support from home, and our gratitude for their tireless efforts. As Gary details in his book, this cover/tribute band was founded solely for the troops and since that time has played more than 400+ shows between domestic military bases to overseas. This book, while sometimes disjointed in the chronology, is written to educate and entertain – two of the primary goals of his foundation. But, it also serves as an inspiration – a call to duty to champion the cause of our crusaders – military, fire fighters, police, and EMTs. Our real heroes, their challenges – how we as civilians can give back, how we can express our gratitude. This is book is not only the story of the origins of an actor, the chairman of a foundation – but one man’s dream, his mission – to make a difference – to make sure our nation’s heroes are never forgotten. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion, and I do recommend keeping a few tissues handy. I also laughed in certain places. But, this was, as I was telling on my social media accounts while I read it – an inspiring, emotionally engaging, heart-breaking, and compelling read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
What a powerful narrative, inspiring and heartrending. It's a must-read for anyone who has ever thought, even once, that one person can't make a difference! What an inspirational example Gary Sinise is for all us ordinary folk.
Anonymous 12 months ago
It is an honest and thought provoking book. It is very inspiring and definitely makes me want to do more for our military and first responders! Awesome work Gary Sinise!
D4BZ More than 1 year ago
I was honored to be included on the Launch Team for #GratefulAmericanBook and eagerly anticipated the arrival of my advance copy. I was not disappointed and finished the entire book in one day. Gary’s life journey to be the beloved service ambassador that he is today is a real “this is us” story. He is a regular guy with real life challenges who understands that we all have much to be thankful for. The emotions were raw for me in several chapters. My daughter and son-in-law are active duty Army officers and are connected with patriots who have sacrificed everything so that we can be free and enjoy the liberties that we do. My husband & I financially support various groups that support our vets and first responders and send care packages periodically, but Gary’s story has inspired us to seek what other avenues we have to help. Thank you, Gary! We too are Grateful Americans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed and admired the on screen and off screen works of Gary Sinise, I was more than pleased to receive an advance copy of his autobiography, Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service. Being his generational peer (we were born only weeks apart) our life journeys saw the same historic milestones from different perspectives. As I read each chapter, I experienced the range of emotions from laughter to tears learning how he dealt with his own successes, failures, joys and sorrows. I also gained an appreciation for the expanse of his philanthropic efforts through his foundation. I can only conclude after reading the book that the Hand of Providence guided each of those experiences to uniquely equip Gary to be the man he is today. I heartily recommend this book to you, you can expect to feel the same gratitude towards this country and those who protect it that Gary does. In addition, you will be thankful that men like Gary answer the higher calling to service.
Anonymous 12 months ago
If you ever wondered what motivates Gary Sinise for all he does for our veterans, this book gives you a first hand account. From his humble beginnings as a misfit student to a student of hard knocks, Sinise provides an insider's view into theater business and the sacrifices his family was more than willing to make on their behalf to his support his endeavors. On a personal note, being the wife of a Vietnam Combat Marine Veteran I'm not only grateful for all the work Gary Sinise does with veteran's groups and organizations but also for being public and sharing the plight of the active duty and veterans. Special blessings to his wife and children for embracing his values and offering their unbridled support. Marjorie High
Anonymous 10 months ago
Gary Sinise, writes an autobiographical account of his life. He shares stories of his troubled youth and how a high school teacher inspired him to become an actor. Along the way he and a group of friends formed a theater group called Steppenwolf. He tells the story of how he worked with Tom Hanks in the movie Forest Gump and he became Lt. Dan. He discovered his passion was to honor our veterans and first responders and their families. He has earned many awards in the course of his life: acting, military awards for his service to veterans, first responders and their families. He earned the second highest civilian award our nation can confer on one of it’s citizen. The Gold Medal for Service to our country, presented to him by President George W. Bush. The photo album at the end of the book, with captions, added to bringing home the reason why he works tirelessly to provide help through the Gary Sinise Foundation to a variety of causes. This book is both inspirational and motivational.
kmedwards More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book. I have been reading it in the small amounts of spare time I have. I love this book and here’s why: The way this book is written seems as though I am talking to an old friend. Gary Sinise tells the good with the bad. While this book is an easy read, it is an emotional one. There were times I was laughing and then brought to tears. My favorite chapter is “When we started to look beyond ourselves.” As I read this chapter, I was reminded of why I created a Vietnam Memorial at my high school in 2002. The feelings that Gary described was exactly how I felt and feel to this day. When Gary begins talking about “Tracers,” I was overcome with emotions. He describes the play which was originally performed by veterans only. He sought advice from his brother-in-laws, who all served in Vietnam. He wanted to make sure the play was an accurate portrayal. He offered free attendance to veterans and hosted question and answer times after to help with healing. For me, I saw this as the starting point of the Gary Sinise Foundation. My second favorite chapter is “Steinbeck Country.” I own a copy of “Of Mice and Men” and wrote a lengthy paper in high school over it. I remember my teacher showing it to me in 11th grade. Then watched the movie starring Gary Sinise. I learned in this book that his dad edited the movie for him, which I thought made the experience even more special. I did not know how passionately he felt about this movie or story until now. He does a great job of outlining every step of his journey. As the book progresses, he talks about “Forrest Gump,” the Gary Sinise Foundation and why he continues to serve. I personally feel like Gary leaves nothing out of this book. Not only do you feel like you know Gary Sinise better but you know the people around him better too. He doesn’t sugar coat his troubles and I love that. As Gary is explaining what he is going through personally, he also describes what the world around him is like. I think this gives a great frame of reference to view the bigger picture. This book is an enjoyable read and I hope that continues to inspire people to "always do a little more." #GratefulAmericanBook
RicardoFernandez23 More than 1 year ago
Gary Sinise opens his biography with an attention grabbing prologue that begins at the 1994 Disabled American Veterans convention in Chicago. He was there to be honored by the group for playing "Lieutenant Dan" in the movie Forrest Gump. He choked up as the disabled veterans enthusiastically stood to applaud his portrayal of a disabled Vietnam veteran. Gary was humbled at receiving their award for, as he says, merely portraying a character as an actor. He thought about how poorly our Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home from serving our country and became determined to "make sure our veterans are never treated that way again." Thus were planted the seeds of Gary's passion to start the Gary Sinise Foundation whose motto is: "We can never do enough to show our gratitude to our nation's defenders, veterans, first responders, and their families who serve alongside them, we can always do a little more." Gary takes us on his journey about growing up in the Chicago area from Harvey to Highland Park. He candidly writes about his childhood and his struggles to make friends and graduate from high school. His early selfish focus was on himself. Fortunately, a teacher sees him in the hallway, tells him he looks like a gang member and asks him to try out for the school play, West Side Story. This participation gets him involved in something greater than himself and he is truly transformed after being accepted into the theater family at school. He writes about co-founding Steppenwolf Theater and his career as an award winning actor and director. This brings us to his life changing role as Lieutenant Dan Taylor from the hit movie Forrest Gump. In the book, he states his character Lt. Dan is wearing only shorts and flip flops when you first see him because the director wanted us to see him with his legs he would eventually lose in the movie. Then, September 11, 2001 happened which changed his life's purpose from focusing on himself to honoring our veterans, first responders, active military members and their families. Gary wrote, "I wondered what I could possibly do to support my country during this terrible time." He contacted the USO several times and asked to go on tour to personally thank those military members who were serving our country. He didn't get a response back until he said he was Gary Sinise who played "Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump." After a few fulfilling handshake tours, he formed the Lt. Dan Band, where he plays bass guitar, and has since performed over 400 concerts to raise money for charitable causes to support our troops and first responders. In the book, Gary writes, "I want to lead a good life, not just for myself, but also for my fellow man. A life of service, to try to make the world a better place. America has given me this opportunity, and for that, I will always be grateful." If you have an interest in learning about Gary Sinise and how his life evolved from "self to service," then this book is a must read for you. I have followed Gary Sinise's efforts to honor our troops, veterans, first responders and their families for years. I learned a lot about Gary Sinise and found the book informative, entertaining and enjoyable. I received an Advance Readers Copy from Gary Sinise and was able to read the book before the official release date to write this review. I just received the Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition and love the beautiful photos and postcards.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Fastinating book about a great American. As a veteran myself I really appreciate all that Lt Dan has done in support of our military. Recommend this book to everyone. Thank you!
LisaK2018 More than 1 year ago
From start to finish, Gary Sinise weaves a story of passion, purpose, and perseverance. Qualities, I believe our forefathers had when they founded this wonderful nation, and qualities Gary Sinise exemplifies today. Grateful American really should be required reading in schools, so young people can see how selfless service can change the world.
Stan_S More than 1 year ago
Take a journey with Gary and one of your own too. If you think you know Gary Sinise you really don't. If you want to know how Gary prepared for the role he is now playing, that of one of the foremost supporters of our defenders, first responders, veterans and their families you need to get your copy of this book as soon as it is available. You will see the steps he took to get to where he is today along with the missteps and lessons learned along the way. Inside you will learn how a high school drama teacher planted the seed and challenge that have brought us the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, Of Mice and Men, in which he acted, produced and directed, and characters brought to life on the screen, both large and small, of Harry Truman, George Wallace, Lt. Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, Mac Taylor in CSI New York, Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13 and the Lt. Dan Band and Gary Sinise Foundation. Along the way, you will learn the advice he received from Steven Spielberg, that he ignored, and why he was once kicked off the Warner Brothers lot, as he shares his life story. Obviously, there is a lot more inside that will make you laugh, cry and say ahh (light bulb goes on) from time to time. Gary has played many roles so far in his life but the role he has played over the last several years and will be his legacy is a role he was called to play. The book shows how his life preceding The Gary Sinise Foundation prepared him for this role. He plays it like no one else with sincerity, humility, and gratitude. It's what makes him a Grateful American. After you read his story I suspect you will be too. Just a note about the Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition - You get a letter from Gary inside and, in keeping with his mantra, "I believe that while we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation's defenders and their families, we can always to a little more." there are 3 postcards included for you to mail to a veteran, active military service member, or first responder to thank them for their service and remind them they are not forgotten. Much like his high school drama teacher challenged him I challenge you to read his story in this book. You will be glad you did. You might just travel that journey from self to service yourself and we can never have too many Grateful Americans.
K_Fischer More than 1 year ago
I've appreciated Gary Sinise as an actor for quite a few years now, but it has only been in the past couple of years that I became aware of all that he does for our military, veterans and their families. This book provides a detailed look at how he went from a kid who was barely making it through high school to an incredibly talented actor and generous philanthropist. He was very open and honest about his journey, sharing the difficulties as well as the successes. I had no idea the extent of his service. I never wanted to put the book down! I finished it feeling so grateful for all he has done to support so many people over the past few decades. He is truly an amazing human! It was refreshing to read about someone who chose to use their fame and success for good, as opposed to the Hollywood norm of self-promotion. I would definitely recommend this book! I received an advance reader copy from the publisher.
battlecryleader87 More than 1 year ago
I'm a sucker for biographies, and this one is quite enjoyable to read, not just because it's the story of a life, but because it's the life story of Gary Sinise, a fine gentleman who does good work. I love the fact that he starts his story going back several generations to his roots in Italy, and then telling about how he ended up in the entertainment industry and ultimately in what he is doing today with his support of the military. This is a great read and I highly recommend it! I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and chose to write this review.
Julie Lawson More than 1 year ago
I received an Advanced Reader copy of this book. I also purchased a hard copy as a gift for a friend who is a Veteran. I haven't finished it but am more than halfway through and I can honestly say - it is fantastic! Gary Sinise is a true American Patriot and probably one of the most genuine, generous and selfless people you will ever find. He traces his past from his teen years, when he thought only of being a musician to pivotal points in his life where his path was diverted, leading him to change his views on life until he realized how much our American way of life is due directly to the sacrifices made by our veterans. He learns what it means to be grateful and to give back - and he really does. This book is a must read. It is also a perfect gift for any veteran.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful journey.......... " when joy connects to mission, a life's purpose begins to take shape." This quote from Gary Sinise in his book "Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service", just about says it all. I received an Advance Readers Copy and although I finished the book about a week ago, I have taken my time to reflect on all that I have learned. He takes the reader on a trip through his early life as a troubled teen to finding his passion in theater, to marrying the love of his life and starting a family, to recognizing that there is always a larger picture. From his first USO tour to the creation of the Gary Sinise Foundation, he urges us all to "do a little more".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For a number of years, I have admired from a distance Gary Sinise and all that he has done and continues to do for our American heroes -- our active military, veterans, first responders and their families. I have often wondered how and why one person does so much. As a member of the launch team for Grateful American, I received an Advance Reader's Copy. After reading the book, I now have more insight into who Gary Sinise is and what motivates him; and I have an even greater appreciation for him and all that he does! I discovered in Grateful American that he is a man who knows his mission and he passionately spends his time and resources to accomplish that mission. In Grateful American, Mr. Sinise gives us an up close and personal look into his journey from self to service. He begins by taking us from his childhood to his "wild" teen years, the discovery of his love for acting, his creation of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater, and his successful career as an actor, director and musician. He also shares with us his journey of faith. He is transparent about the ups and downs of his life and how the shakings he and his family experienced led them to a solid rock, one that would never crumble or fall. Following September 11, 2001, our nation was shaken and Gary's heart was broken. He was also fearful regarding what the future held. Gary found healing through service. He had watched the ungrateful treatment our Vietnam vets received when they returned home and he was determined that our military would be treated differently this time. His life was transformed from that of an actor to an advocate, an advocate to carry our nation's gratitude to our military. Throughout the pages of the book, Gary Sinise's love for his country and his freedom is evident. He is grateful for America's defenders who have sacrificed to provide that freedom, and he does all that he can to let them know that. He puts his love and gratitude into action. The book Grateful American is engaging, insightful and inspiring. Once you pick it up, you will not want to put it down, and my guess is that you, too -- if you are not one already -- will become a grateful American.
lorgir More than 1 year ago
I have been blessed to be the recipient of the advanced reader's copy of this book and was a part of its launch team! If I had to sum up "Grateful American: A Journey From Self to Service" in one phrase, it's 'do a little more' because that's what Gary Sinise has done his entire life. He's strived to do just a little more and that desire has manifested into a powerful foundation that has helped and will help so many. I didn't love this book because he wrote it. Great men are all around us. I love this book because he walks the talk. He's never backed down from a challenge. He's not great at taking no for an answer. He makes things happen. He perseveres. He loves and cares for others more than himself. He's a great example. The springboard of his success as a humanitarian seems to be his role as Lt. Dan. I felt the whole time, like I was sitting on Forrest Gump's bench listening to Gary tell me the entire story from his youth to his life's work and purpose. The book is written in a very conversational tone. It was a delightful read. The book has also encouraged me to try to do just a little more to aid in Gary Sinise's efforts to help us never forget the heroes that pave our road to freedom and safety. My eyes have been opened to some history I knew little about. I have a fresh understanding of just what goes on around me. I have a knew found appreciation for the men and women of our military, first responders as well as their families and loved ones. I find myself even more grateful than I was before. I could wrote SO much more, but I don't want to spoil it. I would highly recommend this as a must read. As quickly as you can get your hands on it.
EmilyBoyMom More than 1 year ago
Gary Sinise has always been a favorite actor of mine. Once I heard and saw of his work for our nation's veterans with The Gary Sinise Foundation, my respect only grew. I was overjoyed to read his book, "Grateful American: A Journey From Self to Service." Gary is a talented performer who also runs a non profit, The Gary Sinise Foundation, meeting the needs of our injured or disabled veterans and first responders. Coming from a family full of veterans and loved ones who are first responders, this book hits home with me. I was honored to get the opportunity to read early, and this book does not disappoint. Gary shares his story of growing up in Chicago as a young man attempting to find his place in the world. Troubled and floundering in high school, a caring drama teacher encouraged Gary to audition for a play, and the rest, as they say, is history. Hearing his story of growth, change and his finding faith later in his life makes for an emotional read. Gary peppers the book with stories of those who give of themselves, their families and their lives to secure our freedoms. He realizes that he is a place where he can do more than most people can, and he takes the opportunity. I agree with Gary when he states, quite unequivocally, that "we can all do something." "Grateful American" pulls you into an intimate look at Gary's life, his family, his acting work and his choice to become involved in creating a non profit that provides the things we all wish we could do for our veterans: support, encourage and give back the independence that catastrophic injuries take from those who have given for our freedoms. I was moved to tears often throughout the book, but I also felt that his message is one that will resonate with all of us. One of the quotes I loved the most from the book centers on Gary's faith journey and his call to do the most he can do for those in need: "I began to feel called by God to take greater action, compelled to use everything I'd been blessed with to serve in a more substantial way. I wanted to create something that could be there for the long haul and, over time, do good work for others." I feel very blessed to have been an early reader, thanks to Nelson Books. All opinions are my own. This book would make an excellent gift for just about any age group. I appreciated the chance to follow Gary's journey and think many others will be inspired by his message. Don't wait! Get a copy for yourself and for a friend. You will both be changed.
LaineyS24 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC copy of this book. I am a veteran of the United States Army and found my knowledge of Gary to be limited only to his military contributions, and of course, to his character as Lt. Dan. I met Gary in New Orleans in 2017 and thanked him personally for all that he has done for this country. I feel a bit of regret not knowing more about his life than I do now. I would have at least dropped in a joke or a reference to his past to make the encounter more personable. There are a lot of names mentioned in this book and I found that it was helpful to look up the referencing names and get a picture in my head before continuing to read. It was a much more pleasant story after I was able to put faces to names. I think that's the point where any book comes alive, is when you start picturing the characters, rather than just reading names. Believe me, you will be pretty surprised by some of the names you come across that have made such an impact on his life. Going in with no information whatsoever of his past before the movie Forrest Gump was a real treat! I felt like I was learning very intimate, personal things about Gary that no one else knew except for the ones close to him. You will read this book and fall in love with not only Gary, but also everyone that has guided him along his path to service. Some very emotional moments throughout the book, but also a lot of funny ones too. He doesn't shy away from any subjects that might be considered taboo, because those things are what made him the man he is today. The book is very genuine and raw. I read it in 3 days, it consumed all of my free time. The chase of what was to come next was then ended with the last page...and for a bit of time, I felt like Gary was now a friend. I understood his life's story and message and felt so thankful to have been given the experience! I knew this book would be a 5 star read about 10 pages in. Yes, folks, it's that great! Take the time to get to know a real American hero!
Dianne Parker More than 1 year ago
Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service is an outstanding read! Gary Sinise is a Patriot, who has penned his life’s journey in an honest and humble way. I, like many others, knew of Gary because of his role as Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, but through this book I learned so much more. The book brought back memories of the turbulent ‘60’s and ‘70’s and the story of Gary’s struggle through that time. Even with his success in his acting career there were struggles, but Gary pushed forward and began to discover his life’s mission, that of service. I have personally been lucky enough to see some of his service firsthand. My husband, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, and I saw Gary a few times at EPCOT, where he was the narrator of the “Candlelight Processional.” He has been our favorite since the first time we saw him. The last time we were able to see him was the time that we got the privilege of being part of his service. At the end of the performance, he asked for the house lights to go up, and then asked for all of the veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized! My husband was hesitant, but I pushed him to stand. What an honor! We also got to see a performance of the Lt. Dan Band. This was how I began to realize Gary’s mission. I was thrilled when I was notified that I was on the Launch Team for this book. I gave the book a five star rating because it is thoughtful, meaningful, well written. Gary is the epitome of what an American should be and why each of us should be Grateful. I hope that everyone can read the book and will come away with the true meaning of what a Patriot is. Thank you, Gary for your story and for your service to our Veterans and First Responders. I received my Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher at no cost.
Anonymous 18 hours ago
Thoroughly+enjoyed.
Jdp15 12 days ago
"Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service" by Gary Sinise is really good!!! 5⭐!! The work Gary has done for the Veterans and for those still serving the USA is so inspiring! Thank you Gary for all you do and have done for our service members!
ShihTzuMama 18 days ago
This very personal narrative explains a lot about the life of the author from his early days growing up on the South Side of Chicago to his years with the Steppenwolf theatre to his Hollywood adventure. Little did he know that his portrayal of Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump would place him at the forefront of a crusade of sorts to improve the lives of veterans and their families. His frank and thought provoking observations concerning America’s war veterans coupled with his candid insights into the urgent need for action on their behalf offer the reader a glimpse into the subconscious mind of this unique and wonderful man. Patriotism, thy name is Gary Sinese.