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Anyone who has felt overwhelmed by insurmountable obstacles--and who has not?--may find this book a source of inspiration and reassurance. Danger Close is neither the ordinary compilation of "uplifting" stories, nor an amoral manual on "How to Prevail by Applying Ten Tactics of Highly Successful Terrorists." Though Yon does not hesitate to express his views--forcefully and sometimes controversially--this story is not a sermon. It is, mistakes, misadventures, and all, an object lesson in the value of fortitude, determination, and simple human justice.
Danger Close is the sometimes funny, sometimes moving, but always compelling account of a seemingly typical small boy becoming an exceptional young man. It ranges through the ordinary to the appalling, the grim and the joyous, the universally shared and the nearly unimaginable, all held together by the increasingly perceptive insights of the author.
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In 1982, one month after graduating from high school, Florida native Mike Yon joined the Army to earn tuition money for college. At that time, President Reagan had begun channeling massive amounts of funds into Special Operations units such as the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and Special Forces in response to the calamitous failure of a U.S. Special Ops attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. For a brief time, writes Yon, "the Army allowed kids straight out of their initial military training to try out for Special Forces"--and Yon jumped at the chance. By July of 1983, at the remarkable age of 19, Yon had survived rounds of grueling training and graduated into the Green Berets. One day later, a bizarre encounter in a Maryland bar landed Yon in jail, accused of murdering a fellow patron with his bare hands.
At first glance, Danger Close reads like an adventure story, one that begins with the fateful bar scene, flashes back through a guts-and-glory retelling of what it takes to be accepted into one of the country's elite unconventional warfare units, and ends with Yon's acquittal of the charges. Yet Yon's self-published memoir simultaneously proves to be a coming-of-age story of a fiercely unique sort. Yon's mother died when he was only seven, and that irreparable loss, combined with the neglect that he later suffered at the hands of his father and the refuge he found with his grandparents and his friends, creates the emotional anchor of the book. Yon handles such a complex combination of subject matter in a free-form, associative style, juxtaposing scenes of intensive weapons training, for example, with stories of life lessons he learned from his grandfather. The result is winningly rough around the edges: Danger Close is exuberant and thoughtful, tender and violent, and, for the most part, it works. Writing, for Yon, like joining the Army, was about having "demons to slay. Big, mean demons that haunted and chased me. I was going to kill them." --Svenja SoldovieriFrom the Publisher:
3rd Edition of Danger Close, Winner of the William A. Gurley Award for Creative Nonfiction.
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