Danny Manion has been fighting his entire life. Sometimes with his fists. Sometimes with his words. But when his actions finally land him in real trouble, he can't fight the judge who offers him a choice: jail... or the army.
Turns out there's a perfect place for him in the US military: the Studies and Observation Group (SOG), an elite volunteer-only task force comprised of US Air Force Commandos, Army Green Berets, Navy SEALS, and even a CIA agent or two. With the SOG's focus on covert action and psychological warfare, Danny is guaranteed an unusual tour of duty, and a hugely dangerous one. Fortunately, the very same qualities that got him in trouble at home make him a natural-born commando in a secret war. Even if almost nobody knows he's there.
National Book Award finalist Chris Lynch begins a new, explosive fiction series based on the real-life, top-secret history of US black ops.
About the Author
Chris Lynch is the author of numerous acclaimed books for middle-grade and teen readers, including the Vietnam and World War II series and the National Book Award finalist Inexcusable. He teaches in the Lesley University creative writing MFA program, and divides his time between Massachusetts and Scotland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Danny Manion cannot help misbehaving; after his mother left, his father has trouble managing his gaggle of sons, of which Danny is the most troublesome and violent. He beats people up to release his anger, and one day, after getting caught stealing (“borrowing”) a motorcycle, a judge offers him the choice to join the army in the Vietnam War or go to prison. Danny, of course, chooses the former. Because of his wrestling coach’s position in the military, he and his camera join an elite unit, the book detailing both the operations of the unit and the tragedies that come with sneaking away with a camera. At one point, Danny’s friends are killed on a photo expedition. At the end of the book, he ends up going home, having served. The key issue here comes from the treatment of war. Although many other books in this genre are explicit in the horrors of war and violence, this book does not really deal with that, leaving Danny a much unchanged, extremely violent boy. He has not absorbed the inhumanity of all he has experienced, and in truth, many characters talk about Americans being in Vietnam solely to kill without any indication that this is bad. With so many other books in this genre covering war in a more interesting and impactful way, it would be a shame to read this because it does not deal with the moral and psychological effects of all this death, particularly on an already violent person like Danny. Nathan P, age 16, Delaware Valley Mensa