Sunday, February 19, 2023

Review: Grateful American by Gary Sinise

Genre: Biography/Memoir
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released:Feb. 12, 2019
288 pages
About the Book:

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 13RansomTrumanGeorge WallaceCSI: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.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I really enjoyed reading Gary’s story and it read like it was him talking right to readers. He shares about his growing up years and how he found his passion for acting and directing. One of his very early roles in the movies was playing Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump and this is a role that has stayed with him throughout the years and has made a huge impact on his life. It was through this role he first became connected with the Disabled American Veterans charity and a passion grew to help members of the military and their family. After 9/11 happened he felt he needed to do more to help and he went on his very first USO tour. During this tour he began to dream up other ways he could help. A true passion grew and we learn about what he has been able to do and has seen through the tours both overseas and in the States. There is a lot of focus on those he has encountered through the tours and what how he has been able to help. Yes, he shares what he has done for them, but the focus is kept on their service. I found it very interesting to learn more about him and some of the behind of the scenes of some of his well-known acting roles. I have a desire to rewatch Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and CSI:NY now that I know some of the behind the scenes. 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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