Nathaniel Tripp grew up fatherless in a house full of women, and he arrived in Vietnam as a just-promoted second lieutenant in the summer of 1968 with no memory of a man’s example to guide and sustain him. The father missing from Tripp’s life had gone off to war as well, in the navy in World War II, but the terrors were too much for him, he disgraced himself, and after the war ended he could not bring himself to return to his wife and young son. 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 mentally unbalanced father’s life, and how the lessons he learned under fire helped him in the raising of his own sons.
"Father, Soldier, Son will stand as one of the finest soldier memoirs of the Vietnam War . . . If all that has been written about the war in Vietnam, in fiction and nonfiction, has made it a familiar story to some, Tripp overcomes cliché by individualizing every well-known fact." -- The Boston Globe
"Not since Michael Herr’s Dispatches has there been anything quite as vivid, gripping and soul-searing," -- The Washington Post,
"The description of combat in the jungles of Vietnam are authentic and terrifying, as good as any I have read in fact or fiction." -- The Chicago Tribune
A searing memoir . . . The reader can almost smell the dank Mekong River, the fear, the rotting flesh. Mud, blood and vegetation swirl on the page, and Mr. Tripp pounds home the sights and sounds. -- The New York Times (A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year)
Some of the best prose this side of Tim O'Brien or Tobias Wolff . . . I've rarely seen the isolation and surreal terror of jungle combat better described . . . Tripp tells the story of his own uncertain relationship with his mentally unbalanced father, and his more successful, and almost paternal, relationship with his platoon in Vietnam. In the end, only the cohesion of that platoon seemed to give sense to his experience." -- Military History Quarterly