The memories of a Special Forces officer are the basis for Sutton's first book--an unusually realistic novel about the beginning of America's involvement in Southeast Asia. The writing style here is pretty much American gee-whiz, but to be put off by the prose is to miss a cracking good story about a fresh West Point graduate Who volunteers for the Special Forces in the exuberant Kennedy years. Second Lieutenant Ed Meadows, a Tennessee Baptist with a girl back home, takes his Airborne qualifications to the once-humiliated but now reemerging Special Forces at Fort Bragg--where he learns the ins and outs of guerrilla fighting and survival from some very tough sergeants. Following a lot of hair-raising fake warfare in Florida, Meadows flies halfway around the world to the real thing in Laos--and is immediately drawn into action fighting the Pathet Lao alongside the Royal Laotian Army. The training is interesting, as are Meadows' fellow soldiers, but the book's great strength is the unmistakable authenticity of the jungle warfare and Meadows' narrow escapes.