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In Pharaoh's Army

New or Used: 3 copies from $18.50
Having survived the childhood recorded in "This Boy's Life", Tobias Wolff finds himself serving in Vietnam and assigned to a unit in the Mekong Delta. Innocent, self-deluded but rapidly growing less so, he fumbles his way through close shaves and foolish risks; for, despite his impressive credentials as a paratrooper and former Green Beret, he recognizes in himself laughably little talent for the military life. A young officer out of his depth, he lives in boredom and terror and grief for lost friends, then and in the years to come, he reckons the cost of staying alive.
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Wolff's memoir of his disillusioning experience as a soldier in Vietnam was a finalist for the NBA. (Oct.)

Novelist and short story writer Wolff, who recounted his early years in This Boy's Life (LJ 1/89), served as a junior officer adviser to a South Vietnamese army unit in the Mekong Delta for his tour in Vietnam. Wolff, a reluctant warrior at best, now offers an idiosyncratic, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable glimpse into his military service and his civilian life immediately before and after Vietnam. This extended essay is not so much a combat narrative as the story of a young man's struggle to reach maturity and coming to terms with his family, his loves, his America, and himself. Wolff's characters (most especially his father and the long-suffering Sergeant Benet) and the American and Vietnamese settings are vividly depicted in a style only a skilled craftsman could devise. An excellent addition to American literature and Vietnam collections for academic and public libraries.-John R. Vallely, Siena Coll. Lib., Loudonville, N.Y.

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