Danger Close! : A Vietnam Memoir

Phil Gioia grew up an army brat during the decades after World War II. Drawn to the military, he attended the Virginia Military Institute, then was commissioned in the U.S. Army, where he completed Jump School and Ranger School. Not even a year after college graduation, he landed in Vietnam in early 1968-in the first weeks of the Tet offensive, which marked a major escalation of the war. Commanding a company in the 82nd Airborne Division, Gioia led his paratroopers into the city of Hue for intense fighting-danger was always just around the corner -and the grisly discovery of mass graves. Wounded, he was sent home in May but returned with the 1st Cavalry Division a year later, this time leading a rucksack company of light infantry. Inserted into far-flung landing zones, Gioia and his men patrolled the jungles and rubber plantations along the Cambodian border, looking for a furtive enemy who preferred ambushes to set-piece battles and nighttime raids to daylight attacks. Danger Close! recounts the Vietnam War from the unique boots-on-the-ground perspective of a young officer who served two tours in two different divisions. He tells his story thoughtfully, straightforwardly, and always vividly, from the raw emotions of unearthing massacred human beings to the terrors of fighting in the dark, with red and green tracers slicing the air. Hard to put down and hard to forget, Danger Close! will remind readers of the best Vietnam memoirs, like Guns Up! and Baptism.