The Recipient's Son

A Novel of Honor

  • Subject: eBook Editions | Fiction | U.S. Naval Academy
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    September 15, 2012
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    10 oz
Hardcover $8.24
Book: Cover Type


The Recipient’s Son is a coming of age story set at the U.S. Naval Academy in the 1990’s By the author of Proximity, it tells the story of Donald Durago, a young man whose father was killed in the Vietnam War. For his heroic actions under fire his father was a recipient of the Medal of Honor. His father’s heroism also provides Durago with an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, since it is as a benefit offered to children of Medal of Honor recipients. However, his father’s legacy also carries with it the burden of being worthy of his bravery, honor and sacrifice.

Durago struggles through his plebe year, and his poor performance leads to restriction over Christmas Leave. During this time, Master Chief Strong helps the young midshipman learn to identify with his father’s sacrifice, his naval heritage, and the challenges of Academy life. Under his guidance Durago grows into a model midshipman.

In the spring of his senior year, however, he is accused of harassment. Concerned that he will be kicked out of the Academy, Durago is forced to realize that he has not completely dealt with his father’s death, including nightmares of being a POW during times of stress. He leans on his roommate, James “Slim” Warren, and his budding relationship with JAG officer Lieutenant Junior Grade Jan Meyer.

The Recipient’s Son highlights all of the major facets and phases of life at the U.S. Naval Academy. Equally important, it forces the reader to consider questions about leadership, concepts of honor, and the balance between service and personal sacrifice. It is a story of a young naval officer’s coming to terms his legacy as the son of a celebrated war hero.

The Recipient’s Son is a stirring tale of a young man coming to grips with the heroism of his father and over coming his self-doubts to accept the challenge of serving his country on his own terms.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"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
"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
"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 and author of Punk's War, Punk's Wing, and Punk's Fight
"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