Having survived the peculiar, almost fantastic childhood recorded in "This Boy's Life", Tobias Wolff finds himself serving in Vietnam and assigned to a unit in the Mekong Delta. More or less 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, language-trained, he recognises in himself laughably little talent for the military life and no taste at all for the war. As a young officer he ricochets between boredom and terror and grief for lost friends; then and in the years to come, he reckons the cost of staying alive in both body and spirit. Much has been written about the scarring Vietnam experience. But never with the blend of exactitude, humanity, grotesque humour, and sure conviction that mark the work of Tobias Wolff. Tobias Wolff is the author of four books, most recently "This Boy's Life". He teaches literature and writing at Syracuse University.