Danger Close: My Epic Journey as a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan

Amber Smith. Atria, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-1638-4
Like a skilled helicopter pilot who skims the ground without churning up too much dust, Smith, a former U.S. Army Kiowa Warrior pilot, superficially revisits her years in the military. As both piloting and military service ran in her family, Smith grew up believing that someday she’d don a uniform and fly planes. The 9/11 attacks turned someday into now. Smith was still in college, though, and without a degree only the Army flight program accepted her—and only for helicopter training. She discusses her experience training as a pilot, occasionally peeling back a layer or two from the surface but studiously avoiding controversy. Smith does deliver deft, almost loving, descriptions of the Kiowa helicopter and the role that the chopper and its crew play in combat. Though comfortable writing about training, equipment, and missions, Smith sidesteps addressing military gender politics. This may come as a disappointment to some readers, given that all combat positions recently opened up for women and that sexual assault and harassment continue. She also shrinks from discussing the politics or the history of the wars. There’s no question that Smith was an accomplished and loyal soldier who served her country well, but readers will be left wondering why she didn’t address crucial aspects of service. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 411 pages - 978-1-4104-9401-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5200-4474-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-4478-1
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