James's Reviews > Fortunate Son: The Healing of a Vietnam Vet

Fortunate Son by Lewis B. Puller Jr.
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Feb 21, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: biography, character-studies, memoirs, military, death-dying-killing-bereavement, culture-and-politics, health-care-healing-and-wellness, history
Recommended for: Adults interested in the history of the Marine Corps and the Vietnam War
Read in January, 1992

This is the life story of the son of the U.S. Marine Corps' greatest hero, "Chesty" Puller. His son, named after him, also became a Marine and went to Vietnam as a lieutenant leading an infantry platoon. There he was terribly wounded and maimed by what would today be called an IED, losing both legs and one arm. This book is mainly the story of his struggle after that; he frankly recounts his struggles with rage, depression, and alcoholism, and relationship problems. As a sidelight, the books shows a little-known side of his father's character, that of a tender, loving and attentive parent. The only time in Chesty Puller's adult life that anyone ever saw him cry was after his son came home from Vietnam badly wounded, when he broke down and sobbed.
Puller Junior ultimately got sober and went into politics as a reform-minded officeholder.
Tragically, within a few years of writing this autobiography he killed himself. A lot of vets felt that a piece of them had gone with them.
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