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Book Review of "Fortunate Son - The Autobiography of Lewis B. Puller, Jr."

Updated on July 16, 2013

Lewis B. Puller, Jr. (Person of the Week) - Gulf War (363 of 374) - After the War, 1991 c/o nh6gulfwarone

Knowing Lewis B. Puller, Jr. more

Cover photo of Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s book (Photo Source:
Cover photo of Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s book (Photo Source:

Vantage points on Vietnam War

I’ve been a 70s baby. I wasn’t born yet when aggression at Nam exploded. It drew a lot of mixed reactions. It was never won by the US government, and critics consider it as a waste and forgettable episode in their constant involvement in other country’s conflicts because of its foreign policy. Many lives were sacrificed.

The leadership of US President Richard Nixon was flagged by anti-war sentiments of the populace, especially the youth.

Parents, wives or girlfriends back in their homelands in the US may either wait for their corpses, for those injured marines.

I have seen war movies, including Vietnam War. Although, most of the scenes were based from real, gruesome stories of the survivors, I still prefer the documentaries essaying such atrocities. Still photos and actual footage vividly interpreted such dark episode in human history.

Much more if I read non-fiction books about the war.

I’m always carried back to the times when the narrator or writer of the book retold what happened with such vivid details.

I personally admire those storytellers who don’t need ghostwriter to write their autobiographies.

I know all of us have our own story to tell. But those who experienced such turmoil in their lives, it’s another story worth-reading for.

Reading the ‘Fortunate Son’ gave me a total overview on what really happened during the war.

And I came to know a person who shamelessly bared himself, so that others may learn from the frailties and perils an individual may encounter once he or she embarks at the crossroads of life.

Thanks to the man named Lewis B. Puller, Jr.

Fortunate Son (Credence Clearwater Revival) c/o zim78234

Thoughts on Vietnam War

By intervening in the Vietnamese struggle the United States was attempting to fit its global strategies into a world of hillocks and hamlets, to reduce its majestic concerns for the containment of communism and the security of the Free World to a dimension where governments rose and fell as a result of arguments between two colonels' wives.

--Frances Fitzgerald, 1972

We should declare war on North Vietnam. . . .We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.

--Ronald Reagan, 1965

Knowing the 'Man of the Hour'

Life is a journey. Each of us has its own facets to trek as we grow older and wiser.

As the son of the legendary figure in the US Marine Corps, Lewis Puller, Sr., Lewis, Jr. is expected to follow the footsteps of his father.

As you read the book the first chapters of the biography (which won the Pulitzer Prize) essayed his childhood experiences along with his father and family.

Lewis, Jr. grew up in Southern California, but when his father retired in the late 50s, the family settled at Saluda, Virginia.

His father, Chesty (or old man as many called him) taught him and made the most of his time to his son, Lewis, Jr.

Late in his teens, the impact of his name will be valuable as he entered the Marine Course, through its Officer candidate School (OCS) and its Basic School.

In 1968, he was one of the US teens who engaged in Vietnam War. As the second lieutenant of his platoon at the infantry, they met the perils that you could imagine against the communist army who fought for most areas of the former IndoChina, resulting to the slaughter of innocent lives of the civilian.

His tour of duty or mission in Nam was shortened when he almost lost his life. He lost both his legs and most of his fingers as he accidentally detonated a booby trap in Da Nang.

Back in the US, during his ordeal, his wife Toddy and most of his family and friends served as his life support and inspiration, along with the medical personnel , in order to survive the next phase of his life, as a private citizen.

He studied law and embarked in political arena but failed during his first attempt.

He’d seen how America changed since the Vietnam War and how the succeeding presidents and prominent politicians handle the ups and downs of US foreign policy.

He fought against his personal demons, while raising his family.

As he triumphed in his addiction to alcohol during the lowest stage in his life, he surrendered himself to God.

His life has its own ups and downs, just like me and you.

His personal memoir is a legend in itself.

To own a copy of the book, please follow this link.


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      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Phoebe Pike: What will the world be like if Vietnam War didn't push through? I think communism will plague the whole Asia. Good thing US and other allied nations intervened, although many lives were sacrificed. It's worth-remembering that one man recorded such turmoil and personal plight to be an instrument of freedom. Lewis B. Puller, Jr. is truly a fortunate son of America.

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      Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

      I have this book and it was one of those life altering books... it really put things into perspective and hit hard. It reminded me of "All's Quiet on the Western Front".

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @billybuc: Thanks, Sir Bill. I think you can grab one of this page-turner and Pulitzer winning autobiography. Who cares about Vietnam War veteran? I think, I do now.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sounds very interesting. I'll have to look him up and see if I can't grab his book. Nice review my friend.