Father, Soldier, Son

Nathaniel Tripp, Author
Nathaniel Tripp, Author Steerforth Press $26 (0p) ISBN 978-1-883642-14-3
Paperback - 261 pages - 978-1-883642-88-4
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-1-58642-108-3
Open Ebook - 190 pages - 978-1-58642-211-0
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A case study in the development of a junior officer, Tripp's polished Vietnam memoir focuses on his six months as an infantry platoon leader in 1968. As Tripp, a TV producer, farmer and children's writer (Thunderstorm!), tells it, self-doubt and confusion never quite left him in Vietnam; instead, they fostered a sense of responsibility for the men under his command. In Vietnam, Tripp began for the first time in his life to trust his instincts and behavior-and however other units may have behaved, Tripp's battalion, the 1/28th Infantry, 1st Division, emerges from these pages as an outfit that knew how to fight and that fought well. In these respects, Tripp's account is similar to many war memoirs. It is individualized, however, as the title suggests: Tripp was strongly influenced by his ambivalent relationship with a father who suffered repeated psychotic episodes. His behavior in Vietnam was structured by a corresponding desire to prove himself and to find himself; and his disordered postwar life was influenced not only by his wartime experiences but also by a fear that his own sons might develop the cystic fibrosis hereditary in Tripp's family. Most Vietnam literature presents American participants as blank slates on whom war wrote its story unimpaired. Tripp's chronicle is a powerful reminder that men and women carry a life's worth of baggage when they go to war, as well as when they return. (Feb.)
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