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DANGER CLOSE Hardcover – 2006
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For those who became familiar with Michael Yon's work through his riveting dispatches from the frontlines in Iraq, this first book will provide some answers to the question "who is this guy?" An engrossing personal memoir, first published in 2001, Yon's autobiography spans from his early, almost idyllic childhood in Florida to just after he completed his Special Forces training. It is unflinchingly honest, raw at times, and filled with promise and portend of his career as an explorer and writer. 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."
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