The names solemnly displayed in Memorial Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy serve as a constant reminder of why Annapolis is different from Harvard, or Stanford, or Duke. No midshipman recognizes this more viscerally than Donald Durago, who knows all too well that some will die--heroically, tragically, slowly, or quickly--in the service of their country.
Set at the U.S. Naval Academy in the 1990s, The Recipient's Son tells the story of a young man's struggle to come to terms with his legacy as the son of a war hero and with his doubts about his own courage. Durago's father was killed in the Vietnam War where his actions as a POW earned him the Medal of Honor. That honor provided Durago with an appointment to the Naval Academy, a benefit offered to all children of Medal of Honor recipients.
During his plebe year, Durago struggles under the burden of being worthy of his father's memory. With the help of Master Chief Strong, he begins to identify with his father's sacrifice, his own naval heritage, and Academy life. When an incident during his senior year brings his character into question triggering terrifying nightmares Durago realizes he has not completely dealt with his father's death. Before he can graduate, he must defend himself at a board of inquiry and faces "separation," a fate worse than mere expulsion. However, with the support of his roommate and a pretty JAG officer he finds the confidence to pursue a military career. The Recipient's Son is a stirring tale of a young man coming to grips with the heroism of his father and overcoming his self-doubts to accept the challenge of serving his country on his own terms.
About Stephen Phillips
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Published October 1, 2012
by Naval Institute Press.
War, Literature & Fiction.