"A 'today' story certain to be made into a major Hollywood epic in the tradition of 1992's A Few Good Men, this makes for superb recreational reading."—SEA CLASSICS
“As the son of a Medal of Honor winner, Donald Durago is preferentially admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy. His father received the medal posthumously for heroism in the Vietnam War, and Donald has had a particularly difficult time dealing with it. As he tries to work his way through his angst, Donald comes perilously close to being expelled. He is charged with harassing a female classmate who also is politically connected and blames Donald for her predicament. Along with clearing his name, Donald has to come to grips with his past. Verdict: Phillips’s second novel is a compelling and well-written tale of life in the naval academy in the 1990s. Values were changing, and what was seen as normal rites of passage are now condemned as illegal, criminal, and grounds for dismissal. As Donald fights the charges, he learns a great deal about himself. Recommended for anyone who is interested in life in the modern military.”—LIBRARY JOURNAL
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.
An Academy graduate himself, author Stephen Phillips draws an intimate picture of life in the Yard that examines the concepts of leadership, honor, service, and personal sacrifice in the Navy. Readers of Phillips’ award-winning first novel, Proximity, will find his new novel an equally authentic and compelling read.
Stephen Phillips is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He served in the U.S. Navy as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician at EOD Mobile Units Six, Eight, and Ten. During his naval career he deployed to Haiti, Somalia, the Arabian Gulf, and the Balkans, and has served in the Global War on Terrorism. His first novel Proximity: A Novel of the Navy’s Elite Bomb Squad was awarded the Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal in 2008.
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Praise for The Recipient’s Son
“The Recipient’s Son is a very interesting and well-told tale of a young man lacking identity and full of self-doubts coming to grips with his past and present and accepting the challenge of serving his country. The novel is subtitled «A Novel of Honor», a very apt title: It is a book to enjoy and a book to learn about honor from.”
"As someone who has spent a good bit of time at the academy and even more listening to my midshipman talk about his challenges, defeats and triumphs there, I was fascinated by Phillips’ close attention to detail. He brought the buildings, monuments, quirks and routines of the yard back to life for me."
—Brian Patch Books
"Sensitively told, The Recipient’s Son is a stirring tale of a young man achieving maturity under trying circumstances."
—Galveston Daily News
“A candid, poignant, authentic, and sometimes tawdry journey through the sacred halls of the Naval Academy's Bancroft Hall—or the dormitory barracks of any other military academy. Stephen Phillips has skillfully woven a superb tale that's sure to engage service academy graduates, those who have served in the military, and those interested in the tightly bound, honor-driven culture of the United States military. Nicely done, Stephen—nicely done indeed!”
—Dick Couch, USNA Class of 1967, author of Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger, The Sheriff of Ramadi, and co-author of the best selling Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor
“Alpha codes, Heinz Lenz, dixie cups, Form Twos, plebe rates, SCUBA diving, and illicit sex in the Yard. What’s not to enjoy in this convincing novel of the Academy in the 90s? ‘Outstanding, Sir!’”
—David Poyer, USNA Class of 1971, author of The Return of Philo T. McGiffin, The Weapon, and The Towers
“Stephen Phillips tells a gripping story of duty at a time when we need to be reminded of it most. Phillips’ story blossoms from man's most complicated human emotion—the legacy of hero-father to shadowed-son—and ultimately of the triumph of one young midshipman's character given a chance to shine by the great Naval Service.”
—Capt. Alexander S. Martin, USMCR, USNA Class of 2004, Proceedings contributor, President and co-founder of Skye Maritime
“The Recipient’s Son is a romp around the Yard. Stephen Phillips opens the gates of Annapolis and gives readers an intimate look into the lives and loves of those who aspire to lead.”
—Ward Carroll, editor of Military.com and author of Punk’s War, Punk’s Wing, and Punk’s Fight