A former platoon leader reflects on his troubled father, the meaning of leadership, and living life on the front lines in “one of the finest soldier memoirs of the Vietnam War” (The Boston Globe)
Nathaniel Tripp grew up fatherless in a house full of women. When he arrived in Vietnam as a just-promoted second lieutenant in the summer of 1968, he had no memory of a man’s example to guide and sustain him. The father missing from Tripp’s life was a military man himself—a Navy soldier in World War II—but the terrors of war were too much for him. Disgraced and addled by mental illness, Tripp’s father could not bring himself to return to his wife and young son after the war.
In “some of the best prose this side of Tim O’Brien or Tobias Wolff” (Military History Quarterly), Tripp tells of how he learned, as a platoon leader, to become something of a father to the men in his care, how he came to understand the strange trajectory of his own mentally unbalanced father’s life—and how the lessons he learned under fire helped him in the raising of his own sons.