The Lieutenant

The acclaimed author’s controversial 1967 debut was a novel of men at war—with themselves.

Lieutenant Dan Tierney is a Marine aboard the vast but labyrinthine and claustrophobic USS Vanguard, an aircraft carrier on patrol in the Pacific in 1956. Forced by the illness of his commanding officer to assume control of the Marines on board, Tierney must make decisions that will alter the lives of his troops and the shape of own future.

When a minor infraction committed by a promising young Private named Ted Freeman leads to a major investigation, a secret culture of initiation rituals and homosexuality is exposed. Torn between protecting Freeman and safeguarding the Marines’ reputation, Lt. Tierney must come to terms with the tragic reality of a system he had once idealized.

The Lieutenant explores the culture and politics of the United States military at the start of the Vietnam War, and reveals the insecurities of the men whose lives were defined by it.

PRAISE

The Lieutenant is a masterpiece of military fiction and character driven storytelling. Each page is a work of total control and wound up energy, a predator ready to pounce. The beauty and stupidity of military service are on full display, as well the yearnings and failings of young men practicing leadership and preparing warriors for the battle. Dubus’s nuanced interiority and patient pacing changed the art of American military storytelling. The Lieutenant has been a secret for far too long. Read it.”
Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

“Dubus is a master, our American Chekhov, and this re-issue of his only novel, The Lieutenant, is a gift.”
Elliot Ackerman, author of Red Dress in Black & White

“Andre Dubus was a genius. His tense, wholly absorbing first (and only) novel has the dramatic pacing of a thriller, but with tremendous psychological and moral insight. At first a local study of power and of characters desperate to place their faith in corrupted and corrupting human institutions, the notes struck by the novel’s end resonate out, leaving us questioning the structure of our own relationship to power, and what, precisely, it is we put our faith in.”
Phil Klay, author of Missionaries

“A fine, tense, wholly absorbing novel.”
Richard Yates, author of Revolutionary Road

Andre Dubus was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a Cajun-Irish Catholic family. He graduated from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and later settled in Massachusetts, where he lived for the rest of his life. Winner of the prestigious PEN/Malamud and Rea awards, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Dubus is widely regarded as a modern master of the American short story.

“Dubus conjured up some of the most perfectly calibrated, not to mention perspicacious sentences in the English language. His writing can make your heart swell and shrivel at one and the same time.” —The Times (London)

Andre Dubus III’s seven books include the New York Times bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie. His most recent novel, Gone So Long, was named on many “Best Books” lists, including The Boston Globe’s “Twenty Best Books of 2018.” He has two new books forthcoming, the novel Such Kindness, due in summer 2023, and a collection of personal essays, Ghost Dogs, due in 2024. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in more than twenty-five languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.