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Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: A Memoir

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An account of sordidness and redemption by the Dartmouth fraternity member whose Rolling Stone profile blew the whistle on the frat's inhumane hazing practices. Always trust the brotherhood. Always protect your pledge brothers. What happens in the house stays in the house. Before attending Dartmouth, the worst thing Andrew Lohse had ever done was skip school to attend a John M An account of sordidness and redemption by the Dartmouth fraternity member whose Rolling Stone profile blew the whistle on the frat's inhumane hazing practices. Always trust the brotherhood. Always protect your pledge brothers. What happens in the house stays in the house. Before attending Dartmouth, the worst thing Andrew Lohse had ever done was skip school to attend a John McCain rally. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, he was the typical American honor student: straight-As, on the lacrosse team, president of the Model U.N. He dreamed of following in his grandfather's footsteps and graduating from the Ivy League. When he arrived at Dartmouth, however, he found not the prestigious college of years past, but a wasteland of privilege and moral entropy. And when he rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity that inspired the rival house in Animal House, Lohse's once-perfect life, as well as his goals, began to crumble around him. Lured by free booze and friendly brothers, Andrew pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and soon his life became a dangerous cycle of binge drinking and public humiliation. From chugging vinegar to swimming in a pool of human waste, Lohse's pledge class endured cruelty and psychological coercion in the hopes of obtaining a bid. Although Andrew succeeded in joining the fraternity, the pattern of abuse continued—except over time, he became the abuser. Told by a contemporary Holden Caulfield, this is a shocking exposé of America's most exclusive institutions and a cautionary tale for modern times.


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An account of sordidness and redemption by the Dartmouth fraternity member whose Rolling Stone profile blew the whistle on the frat's inhumane hazing practices. Always trust the brotherhood. Always protect your pledge brothers. What happens in the house stays in the house. Before attending Dartmouth, the worst thing Andrew Lohse had ever done was skip school to attend a John M An account of sordidness and redemption by the Dartmouth fraternity member whose Rolling Stone profile blew the whistle on the frat's inhumane hazing practices. Always trust the brotherhood. Always protect your pledge brothers. What happens in the house stays in the house. Before attending Dartmouth, the worst thing Andrew Lohse had ever done was skip school to attend a John McCain rally. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, he was the typical American honor student: straight-As, on the lacrosse team, president of the Model U.N. He dreamed of following in his grandfather's footsteps and graduating from the Ivy League. When he arrived at Dartmouth, however, he found not the prestigious college of years past, but a wasteland of privilege and moral entropy. And when he rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity that inspired the rival house in Animal House, Lohse's once-perfect life, as well as his goals, began to crumble around him. Lured by free booze and friendly brothers, Andrew pledged Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and soon his life became a dangerous cycle of binge drinking and public humiliation. From chugging vinegar to swimming in a pool of human waste, Lohse's pledge class endured cruelty and psychological coercion in the hopes of obtaining a bid. Although Andrew succeeded in joining the fraternity, the pattern of abuse continued—except over time, he became the abuser. Told by a contemporary Holden Caulfield, this is a shocking exposé of America's most exclusive institutions and a cautionary tale for modern times.

30 review for Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Johnson

    Warning: Don't read this before you eat breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or even think about a snack. There is more vomit in this story than a newborn with a milk allergy. Andrew Loshe pledged SAE at Dartmouth and lived to tell his story about hazing, fratiness, and just general ickiness that "boys" (yes, these are stupid boys) go through just to fit in. After his time at Dartmouth, he wrote an essay for Rolling Stone magazine that got SAE in big trouble and this book is the tale in a much longer Warning: Don't read this before you eat breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or even think about a snack. There is more vomit in this story than a newborn with a milk allergy. Andrew Loshe pledged SAE at Dartmouth and lived to tell his story about hazing, fratiness, and just general ickiness that "boys" (yes, these are stupid boys) go through just to fit in. After his time at Dartmouth, he wrote an essay for Rolling Stone magazine that got SAE in big trouble and this book is the tale in a much longer version. Why would any consenting half-boy, half-adult, eat an omelette made with someone's vomit? If your stomach is strong enough for the blow-by-blow nastiness, it truly is an interesting read of what goes on at some of these fraternities. My first thought is that these dumb dumbs graduate from Dartmouth and "rule" our world through the banking system and who knows what else. (probably a Senator or two) A view of fraternity life that is like a car accident. You see it coming but you can't look away.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robby Binette

    Interesting subject matter but this boy needs to learn how to write. It's written in "bro" and he just to make himself look like Jude the Obscure and fails miserably. Interesting subject matter but this boy needs to learn how to write. It's written in "bro" and he just to make himself look like Jude the Obscure and fails miserably.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    ARC for review. This book is yet another that is an extended version of an article that appeared in Rolling Stone and I feared that there wouldn't be enough here for a whole book, but Lohse is a talented writer and if you are interested in the Greek system and hazing you'll enjoy this (well, you need a fairly strong stomach, too. Don't read this while snacking. Promise me.) Lohse is a middle-class guy who barely got in to Dartmouth (his grandfather was a graduate and he had a family friend interv ARC for review. This book is yet another that is an extended version of an article that appeared in Rolling Stone and I feared that there wouldn't be enough here for a whole book, but Lohse is a talented writer and if you are interested in the Greek system and hazing you'll enjoy this (well, you need a fairly strong stomach, too. Don't read this while snacking. Promise me.) Lohse is a middle-class guy who barely got in to Dartmouth (his grandfather was a graduate and he had a family friend intervene with the admission board). He and his roommates decide to pledge Sigma Alpha Epsilon and, to be fair, it appears that they knew from the start that the pledging process might be a bit tougher at SAE than at some of the other houses they visited, and it is, with copious amounts of alcohol abuse and other general grossness. Lohse has some angst about all this and ultimately turns on his brothers, outing them to the administration and, with no response, publicly. Full disclosure - I am a Chi Omega alumnae and never suffered any hazing at all. Although I was aware that fraternities hazed a bit more than sororities, I really thought that much of the type of hazing Lohse described ended in the 80s after some highly publicized death, and I was definitely surprised that it was going on at a national fraternity which should, one would think, have a bit more control/knowledge about what is going on at their houses. Anyway, this was a good read for me and many former Greeks will likely enjoy and spend time reminiscing about the good old days, but if you aren't interested in hazing you likely won't find it worth your time, as there's next to nothing included other than fraternity life - no classes, other extracurriculars and very little about relationships other than those between the brothers.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Stokes

    A page turner - a horrific scene that I can't look away from. That said, an important and perhaps, must-read, especially for those in this, or any other college community. I applaud Mr. Lohse for his courage in outing the craziness that has been secret too long. Even if we argue as a community about the veracity of some of the details, we at least owe this man a open-minded read. I encourage anyone who has been to an elite college, a college with Greek life, or has any professional or personal c A page turner - a horrific scene that I can't look away from. That said, an important and perhaps, must-read, especially for those in this, or any other college community. I applaud Mr. Lohse for his courage in outing the craziness that has been secret too long. Even if we argue as a community about the veracity of some of the details, we at least owe this man a open-minded read. I encourage anyone who has been to an elite college, a college with Greek life, or has any professional or personal connection to the same to take a quick read of this work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Crawford

    Yuck. Every aspect of this book is awful. The author comes across as a self-important, pretentious kid.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Faryal Sharif

    Maybe some of it was exaggerated, maybe it wasn't. I don't think it's fair to treat it like a piece of fiction. The one thing I appreciated about this book was the sense of honesty. It ends very abruptly, not gracefully, and in the end we're left wondering if the author learned anything at all. A lot of other reviews point this out, however they characterize it as a bad thing. I don't see it that way. In real life, sometimes we genuinely do not learn. Sometimes, magical, dramatic transformations Maybe some of it was exaggerated, maybe it wasn't. I don't think it's fair to treat it like a piece of fiction. The one thing I appreciated about this book was the sense of honesty. It ends very abruptly, not gracefully, and in the end we're left wondering if the author learned anything at all. A lot of other reviews point this out, however they characterize it as a bad thing. I don't see it that way. In real life, sometimes we genuinely do not learn. Sometimes, magical, dramatic transformations simply don't happen. We continue to live in apathy despite traumatic events. Another thing is that Lohse does is allow himself to come off as annoying and self entitled. Of course it makes him as a character unlike able, but we have to remember this is a memoir. In reality, it's very self aware and brave to write yourself like that. He IS annoying and self entitled, even by the end. Most frat boys I come across are like that. I don't think I was that grossed out or surprised by most of what he wrote. I didn't even feel that bad for most of the guys who were participating in things like "vomlet" or "doming"--what I felt sick about was the repercussions and psychological aspects of it all. He talks about how he can't count on one hand the friends he knows who have been raped, and frequently in the book, there are comments the boys make about women and hook up culture that I was really turned off to. I was also grossed out by the "special snowflake" mentality, the normalization of alcoholism, and the extent to which all of it affected Lohse and was internalized as okay by his brothers. This makes me so angry. Maybe hazing at other schools don't go on to the extent that it did in SAE, but this culture prevails. I wish I could say that there are other ways than tearing down the entire Greek system and abolishing years of tradition that mean a lot to a lot of people. But after reading this, and seeing how the administration reacted, I kind of have begun to agree that the entire thing just needs to stop. Anyway, interesting book. Lohse had some very strong moments as a writer although he has room for improvement. A story that made me think.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bald Bull

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really hoping for more from a presumably highly intelligent person enrolled in the original Animal House. Excessively scatalogical and juvenile, which suggests a missed opportunity to categorize that was lost in an alcoholic haze. People like Hunter Thompson and William Burroughs have had great fun in this weird territory. Ditto for Rimbaud and Verlaine. Ultimately, the M. Sade certainly cannot be matched for those looking to be thrilled by scatology and debasement — if that is your cup of I was really hoping for more from a presumably highly intelligent person enrolled in the original Animal House. Excessively scatalogical and juvenile, which suggests a missed opportunity to categorize that was lost in an alcoholic haze. People like Hunter Thompson and William Burroughs have had great fun in this weird territory. Ditto for Rimbaud and Verlaine. Ultimately, the M. Sade certainly cannot be matched for those looking to be thrilled by scatology and debasement — if that is your cup of tea. Here Lohse dwells on the nihilistic and repetitious banality of the hazing and loses the potential of his characters. Lohse makes the disturbing mention of rape and drug frats but never follows though. Exploring the lives of rich debutantes and the debauchery of the children of the 1% should be a rich vein of material. Then there is degeneracy of the Wall Street alumni and the Dartmouth financial industry pipeline , which is teasingly poked in a superficial light before fading into the mundane routine of a gadfly on the periphery. Lohse pauses briefly to explore the ludicrous nature of his pursuit of false friendships while pledging the frat but then loses that thread. His aspiration is to join a secret society, yet he focuses more on the tattoos and drugs of the secret society. One thinks of how much fertile material could come of Skull and Bones et al. I want to know about the secret societies not morons drinking vinegar before passing out out on cheap booze. Lohse gets the pretty girl, loses the pretty girl, and subsumes even the act of lovemaking and relationships to his alcoholic pursuit of status among his frat bro’s. His parents gets a divorce and we get no connection or context. Lohse has the booze habit of the great writers but not their sensitivity to character nuance. Shit, who the fuck needs booze if you are living on a gorgeous campus in New Hampshire and surrounded by beautiful girls, which Lohse doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting. This guy got the breaks and seems to moralize more because he blew it (in his case with cocaine) rather than because of any genuine moral conviction. There is no epiphany here and it is hard to feel bad for anyone who got into Dartmouth. He is betrayed and gets a slap on the wrist and then proceeds to betray the frat while continuing to be a big honcho in the hazing he deplores. How special. If the book any value it is to cast a laser beam on the superficiality, immaturity, and banality of the toffs jockeying with their network to ascend the silver staircase to run this country. One might hope that Dartmouth College isn’t quite this soulless and vacuous.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Atarah

    Leslie Jamison wrote a beautiful thought provoking book about alcoholism that was also a deep dive into examining America's soci-cultural and historical treatments of addictions. Andrew Lohse wrote a book about the different colors and textures of vomit. True, Jamison's work wouldn't be published until four years later, but think of how much more powerful this book could be if Lohse put in some real effort. If he maybe did some research into fraternal organizations and the history of hazing. The Leslie Jamison wrote a beautiful thought provoking book about alcoholism that was also a deep dive into examining America's soci-cultural and historical treatments of addictions. Andrew Lohse wrote a book about the different colors and textures of vomit. True, Jamison's work wouldn't be published until four years later, but think of how much more powerful this book could be if Lohse put in some real effort. If he maybe did some research into fraternal organizations and the history of hazing. The book is sad too becuase Lohse makes himself out to be more of a loser than he actually was at Dartmouth. Yes, he mainly seemed to drink and puke, but he did write some interesting sounding articles for different college papers - but that isn't what he focuses on. Those are side points that flit by far too quickly. Another example of a topic he could have written more about instead of mentioning in drips and drabs is a fraternity's treatment of women. Lohse mentions close to the end of the book how upset he is that he "needed two hands to count all of my friends who'd been raped at Dartmouth" (p.285). He also mentions throughout the book and his own attitudes betray a certain disrespect and objectification of women. Though, one of the reasons I kept on reading his book was becuase of the exchange when he and his friends are talking to the head of The Dartmouth, when she coldly proclaims to them how she cares more about her journalistic integrity becuase "my job is to run the oldest college newspaper in America" (p.212). Chills. It's nice that at least one woman in this book gets portrayed with some morsel of respect and dignity. I haven't read the original article that this book was based off of but I am hoping it is better than this book and I would recommend you read it anyway instead of spending your time reading his book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Myers

    A raw and much-needed look deep inside the fraternity (not "frat") lifestyle by one who lived and experienced it. Lohse's account reveals the groupthink that creates a moral vapidity, all in the name of tradition. Even if his message fails to overturn systematic rot, it is an amazing first step. A raw and much-needed look deep inside the fraternity (not "frat") lifestyle by one who lived and experienced it. Lohse's account reveals the groupthink that creates a moral vapidity, all in the name of tradition. Even if his message fails to overturn systematic rot, it is an amazing first step.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    I've wanted to read this book since the media attention it got a few years ago. I enjoyed it way more then I expected considering I'm a female not college going woman! It was a great read. I was entertained and interested the whole time. I've wanted to read this book since the media attention it got a few years ago. I enjoyed it way more then I expected considering I'm a female not college going woman! It was a great read. I was entertained and interested the whole time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tulio

    Revealing insight into the hidden world of Greek life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Difficult read both content wise and from a literary standpoint.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Pfeffer

    This book should get two-and-a-half stars, but Lohse went through so much hell it feels ungenerous not to give him three. It is perhaps the most depressing book ever written about college life. Not the life of some giant state university or out of the way community college, but one of the most elite institutions in America, Dartmouth. If this is what the Ivy League is right, those parents and students who have mortgaged their lives to get this elite education are the biggest dupes on the planet. This book should get two-and-a-half stars, but Lohse went through so much hell it feels ungenerous not to give him three. It is perhaps the most depressing book ever written about college life. Not the life of some giant state university or out of the way community college, but one of the most elite institutions in America, Dartmouth. If this is what the Ivy League is right, those parents and students who have mortgaged their lives to get this elite education are the biggest dupes on the planet. The first half of Lohse's chronicle of life in Sigma Alpha Epsilon is a nonstop tale of binge drinking, sadomasochistic hazing, desultory social life, all held together by prodigious nonstop vomiting in all kinds of creative new ways. The SAE's literally swim through life in a disgusting mixture of vomit, piss, feces, spilled beer and other substances too awful to mention, all for the sake of joining a brotherhood that never amounts to anything but endless bickering and more wallowing in shit. The idea of going to college to get an education is laughable because it exists only as an annoying sidelight, unimpressive window dressing. Lohse is never clear on his or anyone else's reasons for joining a fraternity, except for the sense of belongingness and the vague promise of a stimulating social life. But even the vaunted parties seem so boring and stereotyped hardly anyone remembers them, or wants to, and the sex with sorority sisters and other girls almost never really happens because everyone is too drunk - the hookup culture writ large. The second half of the book recounts Lohse's attempts to escape the Greek system, at which he fails as miserably as he does at everything else. His triumph, his epiphany, is the expsé in Rolling Stone that led to this book, but even that accomplishes little or nothing. As far as Lohse can tell, the administration makes only token efforts to stop hazing and other abuses, and everything remains the same. For all that, the book is valuable because of its detailed description of the sorry state of frat culture and college life in general, at least on a snobbish, relatively insular campus like Dartmouth. After Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy, you'll never have to beat yourself if you happened not to get into an Ivy League school. You'll thank your lucky stars you never had to suffer through four years of the most aimless, degrading and boring life you could ever imagine.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Parry

    If you are interested in joining a fraternity this book can provide some bit of information of what greek life is like such as the bid process and what pledging is like, but as far a the hazing goes i'm not sure, I feel like some of his stories are are made up like swimming in a kiddie pool of vomit urine and feces and eating an omelette made from puke. I have a brother who was in a fraternity and he said that he wasn't hazed at all, but he also said it just depends on who you pledge for. Aside If you are interested in joining a fraternity this book can provide some bit of information of what greek life is like such as the bid process and what pledging is like, but as far a the hazing goes i'm not sure, I feel like some of his stories are are made up like swimming in a kiddie pool of vomit urine and feces and eating an omelette made from puke. I have a brother who was in a fraternity and he said that he wasn't hazed at all, but he also said it just depends on who you pledge for. Aside from all the storytelling of him being hazed and him hazing other pledges, the book isn't great. Andrew Lohse sure can tell a story and paint a vivid image but that's about as far as his writing skills go. Overall the book wasn't too horrible I just wish he would've included more of what goes on behind the scenes instead of just focusing on what Hollywood already sees fraternity's as. I understand what goes on behind the scenes like chapter meetings is top secret but so is hazing pledges and I guess he felt that it was okay to write about that in a Rolling Stones article which led to SAE getting sued for thousands of dollars.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lin Wolff

    Scary.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Damo

    Very entertaining, a good insight into a lesser known world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I'm a DG alumnae and none of this is shocking. All rather standard stuff for a frat boy. Actually, he seemed rather decent. I'm a DG alumnae and none of this is shocking. All rather standard stuff for a frat boy. Actually, he seemed rather decent.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    It was very interesting to hear what goes on as part of pledging for a fraternity. I wonder if these bizarre things happen all over and to what degree that they still go on.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Spitler

    Really sad and scary.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    So descriptively gross but I couldn't put it down. Made me miss the college days, yet made me so happy they are over. (Not that I experienced anything even remotely close to what Lohse did.) So descriptively gross but I couldn't put it down. Made me miss the college days, yet made me so happy they are over. (Not that I experienced anything even remotely close to what Lohse did.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robert Devine

    It was okay. Main take away was that being in a fraternity involves lots of puking and gross-out games.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Martin Kilkenny

    I can see why Dartmouth was not too happy with this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  25. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Blair

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dominic Basulto

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Lewin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pam Hoehler

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  30. 5 out of 5

    G Clay

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