Lullabies for Lieutenants: Memoir of a Marine Forward Observer in Vietnam, 1965-1966
Author: Franklin Cox
Publisher: McFarland (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 220 pages
Capturing the chaotic nature of the U.S. Marine experience at war in Vietnam, this memoir recounts the experiences of a young officer in a series of unrelated short pieces. In a narrative as fragmented as the war itself, the only resolution is the same one reached by the Marines who fought--the conclusion of a tour of duty with no happy ending. Each chapter describes a specific event, a story of emotion, or a remarkable person (some are heroes, some are cowards). The reader lives the experience alongside the author, gaining a true sense of the pulse-pounding contact, surrealism, pathos, humor, and beauty that defined one of the low points of the American experience.
MWSA 2011 Silver Medal for Non-Fiction, Memoir
MWSA Book of the Month, September 2010
In this powerful memoir, the clock almost stops to capture every micro-second of thought in Marine Lieutenant Franklin Cox's mind. Charged with exacting artillery in the midst of Vietnam's chaos and carnage, Cox creates a panoramic view of the battlefield and analyzes many who inherit the scene. The reader sees jungle warfare from point blank and the view provides palpable insight into everyone's existence. The author packs vision into every page and his style probes emotions from an intelligent perspective. Pre/post war memories add more depth to an already fathom's deep story, and I was possessed from cover to cover. Cox's ability to write in a tick-tick-tick fashion about the horrific times survived is no easy feat. I've nearly been killed before and recognize how hard that is to slowly sketch out and share. Cox survived hell, wrote about it in living detail, and kept going. I wish for Lullabies for Lieutenants to be required reading. Surely there's a place for it in an American History college curriculum. I recommend the read to anyone who cares to witness what makes a man tick before, during and after Vietnam. Cox did an incredible job portraying that eventful experience.
Reviewed by: Hodge Wood (2011)