Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Good Lieutenant

The Good Lieutenant

A Novel

Whitney Terrell

Farrar, Straus and Giroux




The Good Lieutenant literally starts with a bang as an operation led by Lieutenant Emma Fowler of the Twenty-seventh Infantry Battalion goes spectacularly wrong. Men are dead--one, a young Iraqi, by her hand. Others were soldiers in her platoon. And the signals officer, Dixon Pulowski. Pulowski is another story entirely--Fowler and Pulowski had been lovers since they met at Fort Riley in Kansas.

From this conflagration, The Good Lieutenant unspools backward in time as Fowler and her platoon are guided into disaster by suspicious informants and questionable intelligence, their very mission the result of a previous snafu in which a soldier had been kidnapped by insurgents. And then even further back, before things began to go so wrong, we see the backstory unfold from points of view that usually are not shown in war coverage--a female frontline officer, for one, but also jaded career soldiers and Iraqis both innocent and not so innocent. Ultimately, as all these stories unravel, what is revealed is what happens when good intentions destroy, experience distorts, and survival becomes everything.

Brilliantly told and expertly captured by a terrific writer at the top of his form, Whitney Terrell's The Good Lieutenantis a gripping, insightful, necessary novel about a war that is proving to be the defining tragedy of our time.

Boston Globe Best Books of the Year, Washington Post Best Books of the Year



The target’s house was surprisingly palatial: three stories, winged and modular, its tan concrete balconies adorned with geometric, beveled corners, so that the whole seemed to have been cast from a mold. A stone wall circled it,...



Behind the Scenes of The Good Lieutenant

Because The Good Lieutenant focuses on a female soldier, Lieutenant Emma Fowler, Whitney Terrell realized early on that he was going to rely on the expertise of the many women who’d fought and served in Iraq—as well as the men. Former Sergeant Angela Fitle and Major Stacy Moore are two of the many veterans and active duty personnel who shared their experiences with him and advised him on this novel.


Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Whitney Terrell

Whitney Terrell is the New Letters Writer-in-Residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is a graduate of Princeton University and has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His first novel, The Huntsman, was a New York Times notable book. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, Details,Harper's Magazine, The New York Observer, The Kansas City Star, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq during 2006 and 2010 and covered the war for The Washington Post Magazine,Slate, and NPR. He was born and raised in Kansas City.

Whitney Terrell

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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