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Living with Honor: A Memoir by America's First Living Medal of Honor Recipient Since the Vietnam War

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A compelling memoir from a true hero—and one of the few living persons to ever be awarded the celebrated Medal of Honor.Sal Giunta was just a regular kid from Iowa when he enlisted in the army to figure out what to do with his life. He never thought that a few tours of duty later, he would be the first living person since the Vietnam War to be awarded the esteemed Medal of A compelling memoir from a true hero—and one of the few living persons to ever be awarded the celebrated Medal of Honor.Sal Giunta was just a regular kid from Iowa when he enlisted in the army to figure out what to do with his life. He never thought that a few tours of duty later, he would be the first living person since the Vietnam War to be awarded the esteemed Medal of Honor.      First stationed in Italy and then deployed into Afghanistan, Giunta had a firsthand perspective of the ground war and its daily difficulties—some quotidian in nature, some anything but. He and around 150 of his company were stationed in the dangerous Korengal Valley in 2007, where some of the most intense fighting in the war had taken place. Giunta called it, “basically hell on earth.”      Late one night in October of 2007, Giunta’s company embarked on a sting operation into the Taliban’s forces. They were ambushed on a rugged mountain path by twenty insurgents. Giunta sprang into action and with little regard for his own safety, he withstood enemy fire to administer medical aid to his wounded fellow soldiers—even rescuing one soldier who was being carried away by the insurgents—until his squad reached safety.      For the unrivaled bravery and selflessness of his actions, Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. In this fascinating and riveting memoir, he depicts the realities of war, as well as the moment-by-moment details of the event that earned him the nation’s highest distinction.


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A compelling memoir from a true hero—and one of the few living persons to ever be awarded the celebrated Medal of Honor.Sal Giunta was just a regular kid from Iowa when he enlisted in the army to figure out what to do with his life. He never thought that a few tours of duty later, he would be the first living person since the Vietnam War to be awarded the esteemed Medal of A compelling memoir from a true hero—and one of the few living persons to ever be awarded the celebrated Medal of Honor.Sal Giunta was just a regular kid from Iowa when he enlisted in the army to figure out what to do with his life. He never thought that a few tours of duty later, he would be the first living person since the Vietnam War to be awarded the esteemed Medal of Honor.      First stationed in Italy and then deployed into Afghanistan, Giunta had a firsthand perspective of the ground war and its daily difficulties—some quotidian in nature, some anything but. He and around 150 of his company were stationed in the dangerous Korengal Valley in 2007, where some of the most intense fighting in the war had taken place. Giunta called it, “basically hell on earth.”      Late one night in October of 2007, Giunta’s company embarked on a sting operation into the Taliban’s forces. They were ambushed on a rugged mountain path by twenty insurgents. Giunta sprang into action and with little regard for his own safety, he withstood enemy fire to administer medical aid to his wounded fellow soldiers—even rescuing one soldier who was being carried away by the insurgents—until his squad reached safety.      For the unrivaled bravery and selflessness of his actions, Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. In this fascinating and riveting memoir, he depicts the realities of war, as well as the moment-by-moment details of the event that earned him the nation’s highest distinction.

30 review for Living with Honor: A Memoir by America's First Living Medal of Honor Recipient Since the Vietnam War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Blair

    On the same level as House to House by David Bellavia. Living With Honor allows one to see the intensity of battle on the foreign soil of Afghanistan. Living With Honor also allows one to hear the intensity of pain as our soldiers process the loss of their buddies. This is an honest re-telling of experiences faced on the battlefield and I am grateful to "know the truth" of what our soldiers have faced in our war on terror. Warning: prolific use of foul language is the only negative Quote: "I want pe On the same level as House to House by David Bellavia. Living With Honor allows one to see the intensity of battle on the foreign soil of Afghanistan. Living With Honor also allows one to hear the intensity of pain as our soldiers process the loss of their buddies. This is an honest re-telling of experiences faced on the battlefield and I am grateful to "know the truth" of what our soldiers have faced in our war on terror. Warning: prolific use of foul language is the only negative Quote: "I want people to know that the life we have in America - a life of freedom and opportunity, a life largely free of violence and suffering - is not without cost. There are people out there fighting for it every day. Soldiers on the ground do not have the luxury of political opinion - it's irrelevant to their existence and their mission. They do what they are told, regardless of how crazy it sometimes seems. Soldiers do not make big decisions; they do not have choices, other than those that re made in the blink of an eye and have life-and-death consequences. And they accept this responsibility willingly. They seek it out. They fight so that others don't have to fight. ....I think it's acceptable to remind people once in a while that these privileges, given as a birthright, are preserved and maintained by men and women in uniform, and these people are doing extraordinary and courageous work under unbelievably difficult circumstances. In return, they expect.....nothing." pg 290

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    Few who return from fighting overseas are willing to open up about their experiences in-country. As a result, most of us, the everyday men and women that make up the bulk of America, are unaware of the daily sacrifices made by thousands of men and women who have chosen to defend the interests and the well-being of the American people. In his poignant memoir, Sal Giunta pays tribute to the men with whom he served and grants the world a rare peek at what it means to be a soldier who has seen multi Few who return from fighting overseas are willing to open up about their experiences in-country. As a result, most of us, the everyday men and women that make up the bulk of America, are unaware of the daily sacrifices made by thousands of men and women who have chosen to defend the interests and the well-being of the American people. In his poignant memoir, Sal Giunta pays tribute to the men with whom he served and grants the world a rare peek at what it means to be a soldier who has seen multiple tours of duty. Throughout the narrative, readers will find that the author's humility belies his role as America's first living recipient of the Medal of Honor in 40 years. In fact, it seems that Giunta's sense of loyalty and fair play push him to recognize the worthiness of all of his fellow comrades in arms. Throughout the narrative, the soldiers of 173rd Airborne Brigade come to life as Giunta affectionately depicts both the quirks and the strengths of the soldiers with whom he served two tours in Afghanistan. While the rest of America continues to applaud the heroic actions that merited him the highest of honors, Giunta credits all of the soldiers in his unit, living and dead, with having had the willingness, courage, and the skill necessary to do what he did. "Living With Honor" is definitely a MUST READ!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    This memoir was well written. This is more than a book about the retelling of the battle in the Korengal Valley that led to Giunta receiving the Congressional Meal of Honor. I enjoyed the insight on life in an infantry unit and why some people enlist to fight. Giunta tells of daily life deployed and being in Afghanistan during the "forgotten years". I call this time period the forgotten years because the war in Iraq dominated the nightly news and news from Afghanistan was rare. Giunta reminds us This memoir was well written. This is more than a book about the retelling of the battle in the Korengal Valley that led to Giunta receiving the Congressional Meal of Honor. I enjoyed the insight on life in an infantry unit and why some people enlist to fight. Giunta tells of daily life deployed and being in Afghanistan during the "forgotten years". I call this time period the forgotten years because the war in Iraq dominated the nightly news and news from Afghanistan was rare. Giunta reminds us that in 2005 to 2007 hostilities in Afghanistan were far from over. I remember President Obama talking about how he truly liked Giunta. I concur, Giunta's likeability comes across in this book. Giunta is truly an All American hero not unlike many young men we know in our communities.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Avolyn Fisher

    If there is only one book that you read this year, make it this one. I laughed, I cried, and at times identified with Sal while he described growing up in Eastern Iowa and the high school we both went to. He speaks honestly and openly without filtering his true feelings on what he went through. He is humble and reluctantly accepts praise for what he has done for our country. More than anything I feel ashamed for being so ignorant about what our troops are doing overseas. Like most Americans I wa If there is only one book that you read this year, make it this one. I laughed, I cried, and at times identified with Sal while he described growing up in Eastern Iowa and the high school we both went to. He speaks honestly and openly without filtering his true feelings on what he went through. He is humble and reluctantly accepts praise for what he has done for our country. More than anything I feel ashamed for being so ignorant about what our troops are doing overseas. Like most Americans I was proud of our troops and I appreciated what they were doing for us but I knew very little about what they actually go through. I grossly underestimated what it was like for our troops. I found myself in tears on the plane when I got to the part about Rock Avalanche and the night of October 25, 2007. I am forever changed by Sal's story and I am grateful that he chose to open up and share it with us in a way that most soldiers/veterans don't feel comfortable doing. I know I'll never fully understand what combat is like but I have such a different perspective now and never again will I take it lightly for one second what any soldier is doing for this country. Thank you, Sal.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    This book was a new or refreshing way to look at our current military. I am not sure I would have picked the book up to read, if it hadn't been picked to discuss at Book Club. I thought I had a healthy respect for soldiers before I read this book, but now I feel this respect has been refined. It pleased me that this author did not present war as "cool and an awesome adventure." The ugly side he presented assisted me in respecting the military and veterans more. This quote hit home with me, "I wa This book was a new or refreshing way to look at our current military. I am not sure I would have picked the book up to read, if it hadn't been picked to discuss at Book Club. I thought I had a healthy respect for soldiers before I read this book, but now I feel this respect has been refined. It pleased me that this author did not present war as "cool and an awesome adventure." The ugly side he presented assisted me in respecting the military and veterans more. This quote hit home with me, "I want people to know that the life we have in America-a life of freedom and opportunity, a life largely free of violence and suffering-is not without cost. There are people out there fighting for it every day." Because of reading this book, the 4TH of July will never be the same for me. I will truly try to remember who fought and continues to serve so I can enjoy more freedom and more opportunities than anyone born in any other country on the planet. Thank you for serving in the U.S.A. military if you are reading this. Thank you Sal for taking time to give the common person a glimpse into current war and combat.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheri S.

    Giunta writes about his early life and some of the decisions leading to his enlistment in the Army. Guinta describes his training and the significant relationships he develops during his time in the service. During his second deployment, he is in Afghanistan, a challenging assignment due to the daily gunfire, poor living conditions and extreme terrain. While returning from a mission one evening, Giunta and his team are ambushed resulting in casualties. During the ambush, Giunta engages in admira Giunta writes about his early life and some of the decisions leading to his enlistment in the Army. Guinta describes his training and the significant relationships he develops during his time in the service. During his second deployment, he is in Afghanistan, a challenging assignment due to the daily gunfire, poor living conditions and extreme terrain. While returning from a mission one evening, Giunta and his team are ambushed resulting in casualties. During the ambush, Giunta engages in admirable actions. Though Giunta believes he acted as any other soldier would in the particular circumstances he faced, he is recognized for his actions and later awarded the Medal of Honor. Giunta continually downplays his efforts and instead praises his team for their valiant efforts (while also remembering the loss of life during the ambush). Additionally, he writes of the need for the military to do a better job of helping veterans transition back to society after being deployed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is one of those books that everyone should read. It is about a soldier who lived through war in Afghanistan. It begins with his life as a young man and what led him to join the Army. War changed him while serving in Afghanistan and his story is about serving in combat and how his Medal of Honor is something that he feels was not possible if not for all the other guys he was with at the time they were surrounded by enemy. It is about camaraderie that is so necessary for soldiers serving toge This is one of those books that everyone should read. It is about a soldier who lived through war in Afghanistan. It begins with his life as a young man and what led him to join the Army. War changed him while serving in Afghanistan and his story is about serving in combat and how his Medal of Honor is something that he feels was not possible if not for all the other guys he was with at the time they were surrounded by enemy. It is about camaraderie that is so necessary for soldiers serving together and stories about each person who has impacted his life. His humbleness is what makes his story so worth it to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul Arbogast

    This is a book by Staff Sergeant Sal Guinta, the first living person in 40 years to be awarded the Medal of Honor. From what lead him to join the Army, through his training and two deployments, the second one being 15 months in a horrible place in Afghanistan. The second deployment being where he 'earned' the Medal of Honor. As he says, he doesn't feel that he is a 'hero', and he explains in his story how all the men there do things just as if not more 'heroic' than what the did. It gives a grea This is a book by Staff Sergeant Sal Guinta, the first living person in 40 years to be awarded the Medal of Honor. From what lead him to join the Army, through his training and two deployments, the second one being 15 months in a horrible place in Afghanistan. The second deployment being where he 'earned' the Medal of Honor. As he says, he doesn't feel that he is a 'hero', and he explains in his story how all the men there do things just as if not more 'heroic' than what the did. It gives a great insight into what our troops go/went through over there, and the difficulty of transitioning from war to normal society. An excellent book all should read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    What a great book!! Giunta tells a compelling story about his service in Afghanistan and pays tribute to all those he served with. He is especially humble about receiving the Medal of Honor as the story of what took place takes up only a few pages in the book. He is brutally honest in his feelings about being in Afghanistan, about his mission there, and about the natives of that country. It wasn't what I expected, it was better than I expected! This is one soldier's story and it is a powerful on What a great book!! Giunta tells a compelling story about his service in Afghanistan and pays tribute to all those he served with. He is especially humble about receiving the Medal of Honor as the story of what took place takes up only a few pages in the book. He is brutally honest in his feelings about being in Afghanistan, about his mission there, and about the natives of that country. It wasn't what I expected, it was better than I expected! This is one soldier's story and it is a powerful one!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    The first living recipient of the MoH from the War on Terror tells his story in this new book. And, it is well worth taking the time to read it. Sal Guinta tells his story: from his days growing up playing golf, to his first tour overseas, and finally the fateful battle on an Afghanistan hillside. Written on a level comparable to the superb Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell it is a powerful book. You, and the rest of America, should read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    A very good book. Mr.Giunta shares a lot about himself good and bad very honest. He also shares and wants men & wommen who. have served to get treated for PTSD. He is still living with that last battle and the loss of his friends but he making it work. Airborne are a tough and different breed. I am glad he talking and trying to help all the men & women coming back and who are here it is ok to ask for help. Great book about a living hero.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Craig Bowman

    An excellent memoir of a soldier fighting in Afghanistan. It was a daunting task to deal with insurgents trying to kill you and locals you are trying to help that all look and dress the same. One point he drives home is he feels like everyone in his platoon involved in the fire fight were brave and fought equally well to him. He was just the chosen one to get the metal of honor. Too much to go into in this short review but suffice to say it was an excellent read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

    The author, Staff Sergeant Giunta, was the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the conclusion of the Vietnam War. This tells a complicated coming-of-age story and the common travails of U.S. soldiers stationed in the outposts of Afghanistan, concluding with a gripping retelling of the battle that led to his military awards. Great read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Audiobook: I loved the style of this memoir. Told with brutal honesty regarding what it was like to fight in Afghanistan! Beautifully written regarding a topic that must have been difficult for him to write about. A must read for anyone who enjoys memoirs!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Wow. There isn't much more to say other than I'm proud to live in a country where men such as Sal are fighting and dying for our country. This book is not just his story but a tribute to the soldiers who fought and sometimes died by his side. Wow. There isn't much more to say other than I'm proud to live in a country where men such as Sal are fighting and dying for our country. This book is not just his story but a tribute to the soldiers who fought and sometimes died by his side.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Conley

    Good book that helps non-military people understand the horrible nature of war and how it's so different than the non-lethal world. Thank goodness for soldiers like Sal Guinta...bless every one of these men and women. Good book that helps non-military people understand the horrible nature of war and how it's so different than the non-lethal world. Thank goodness for soldiers like Sal Guinta...bless every one of these men and women.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Unlike any book I have ever read but I enjoyed it very much. I appreciated Mr. Giunta's honesty about his time in the Army and the story he tells not only about himself but all who sacrifice for this country. Highly recommended. Unlike any book I have ever read but I enjoyed it very much. I appreciated Mr. Giunta's honesty about his time in the Army and the story he tells not only about himself but all who sacrifice for this country. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Thomas

    I wish I could give this more than 5 stars. It's an excellent and very powerful read. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars. It's an excellent and very powerful read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Grace G

    I enjoyed this book a lot more than I initially thought I would. Salvatore Giunta was a Medal of Honor recipient in 2010; the first person to be awarded this honor since the end of the Vietnam War. I found this book in my school library, and it caught my attention because my late grandfather was in the Army; so I always find myself interested in books surrounding the military. Especially since this book was a biography by Giunta, showing a more realistic insight to military life. In his book, Giu I enjoyed this book a lot more than I initially thought I would. Salvatore Giunta was a Medal of Honor recipient in 2010; the first person to be awarded this honor since the end of the Vietnam War. I found this book in my school library, and it caught my attention because my late grandfather was in the Army; so I always find myself interested in books surrounding the military. Especially since this book was a biography by Giunta, showing a more realistic insight to military life. In his book, Giunta takes the reader through the time when he was first employed, through the obstacles he tackled throughout his deployments, all leading up to when he was awarded his medal. The intense struggles Giunta depicted throughout his deployments kept me on the edge of my seat while reading; but then the peace times and recaps after each battle brought me back to reality. Giunta lost a lot of friends during his time serving; and described what it was like to try and fit back into society in between his deployments. Some of the feelings he described make me wonder if my grandpa ever experienced the isolated feelings that are often symptoms of war. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting, decently lengthed read. Not only does it show an intense look into the life of a man in the military; but it is very eye opening about what the situation over seas is really like. I always thought that there was a clear line between the innocent people living in Afghanistan, and the Al Queada and Taliban. But the reality is there is no way to distinguish between them, other than the fact that one may be shooting at you and one may not be. And even then, sometimes the people who are trading with you during the day may be the ones shooting at you at night. I've always had a great respect for soldiers, as it is taught in my family; but this book has made me respect them all that much more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dee Sauter

    The only reason I gave Living with Honor 5 stars was because that was the highest I could go. This book is now one of my all time top 5 favorite books. Salvatore Giunta told about growing up in Iowa as the oldest of three kids, how he had loving parents which as a kid he did not appreciate, then in order to get a free T-shirt he went down to the recruiting station and ended up going in the Army. He did two tours in Afghanistan and in the second deployment he was sent to the Korengal Valley, near The only reason I gave Living with Honor 5 stars was because that was the highest I could go. This book is now one of my all time top 5 favorite books. Salvatore Giunta told about growing up in Iowa as the oldest of three kids, how he had loving parents which as a kid he did not appreciate, then in order to get a free T-shirt he went down to the recruiting station and ended up going in the Army. He did two tours in Afghanistan and in the second deployment he was sent to the Korengal Valley, near the Pakistan border and one of the worst places in Afghanistan. On October 25 2007, a day that will be forever known as Rock Avalanche, Giunta's team was on patrol walking single file when they were ambushed from two different directions. The men that he was responsible for were doing their jobs and he saw a friend, Sgt Gallardo fall. Without any cover and while being shot at he went after him, as he is dragging him back he gets shot in the chest, his body armor protecting him, and his secondary rifle is shot. Fortunately, Gallardo was just grazed on the head by a bullet. After getting him to safety Giunta goes forward and finds the next man wounded and his gun jammed. Gallardo had followed him and started taking care of the wounded soldier. This gave Giunta the freedom to find the final missing man on the team. He sees to insurgents carrying the final man on the team, Josh Brennan and Sal's best friend, Salvatore Giunta kills one of the insurgents and wounds another and pulls Brennan to safety. Since Brennan is badly wounded his next job is to give aid until all the wounded and dead were able to get out. I take for granted all our freedoms and how really wonderful this country is and this book makes me proud to be an American

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Memoir of the first living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam. Fought in the Korangal Valley, Afghanistan with the 173rd (airborne infantry), and was awarded for an incident which happened about 8 years into the war. As the author says, the incident itself was representative of the actions of his unit and their daily activity in the area, but when a fairly representative incident is itself worthy of the highest honor, that is a sign it was awarded to the right person. One of the Memoir of the first living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient since Vietnam. Fought in the Korangal Valley, Afghanistan with the 173rd (airborne infantry), and was awarded for an incident which happened about 8 years into the war. As the author says, the incident itself was representative of the actions of his unit and their daily activity in the area, but when a fairly representative incident is itself worthy of the highest honor, that is a sign it was awarded to the right person. One of the more interesting parts of the story is how his path into the military wasn’t a particularly straight line, and how normal teenaged rebelliousness, a very competent military recruiter, the vagaries of the induction and training process, and a bunch of small actions all led to him being there during the incident.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zebulynn Hanson

    This is a very brave guy. All those guys were. I got this book autographed from an army ranger who was in Vietnam. He owns a medal of honor mueseum and I checked it out one day. As we were talking and before I knew anything about him I told him about books I read about hathcock and an army ranger in Vietnam. I told him about the Rangers book and he told me that he was one too and everything I said was true. This book stuck out to me in his display( it was the most expensive which meant there was This is a very brave guy. All those guys were. I got this book autographed from an army ranger who was in Vietnam. He owns a medal of honor mueseum and I checked it out one day. As we were talking and before I knew anything about him I told him about books I read about hathcock and an army ranger in Vietnam. I told him about the Rangers book and he told me that he was one too and everything I said was true. This book stuck out to me in his display( it was the most expensive which meant there was a reason. It's a great read and autographed) and the rest is history. I plan on keeping this is in a special place on my book shelf for a long time to come.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jon Koebrick

    Living with Honor was a remarkable memoir from a living Medal of Honor recipient. Giunta is from my home area and graduated from the high school my wife went. He worked at Subway and may have made me a sandwich somewhere along the line before he went to Afghanistan in the deadly Korengal Valley. His words are real and reflect the nature of modern war.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    A great book. Much about Afghanistan and the type of war that was fought there. A lot of his personal views in the book that did bog it down some. I thought the epilogue was the liveliest part of the book. I also thought the acknowledgments was a little strange in that he never mentioned his wife or family. Reading this I am thankful that we finally pulled out of Afghanistan.

  25. 5 out of 5

    This is V!

    I am very familiar with this unit knowing people who served in it , the courage described in this book is something amazing . People in their 20s willing to die to save their buddies . Stories of courage .

  26. 4 out of 5

    A Prather

    Not the type of book I typically read. Sal is a remarkable man with an unforgettable story. He’s a true patriot, but doesn’t sugarcoat the heartbreak that comes with heroism. He’s also a humble and interesting storyteller.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Excellent book. He really lets you know what he was thinking and feeling during his time in the Army. There is less play-by-play of combat than other books like this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kai Moore-Austen

    Wow

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie Pint

    Loved the detail and first hand accounts.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joe Creason

    I listened to the ~10 hour audiobook of this memoir read by Keith Nobbs (Giunta reads the prologue and epilogue himself). The final paragraph of this review covers that production specifically. 4 stars. Guinta spares us little on his own thoughts and reflections as a modern soldier. Recommended. Giunta was a sergeant in the 173rd Parachute Infantry Brigade who served in Afghanistan. A SAW gunner while in combat through two tours, he received the Medal of Honor during his second tour. He starts out I listened to the ~10 hour audiobook of this memoir read by Keith Nobbs (Giunta reads the prologue and epilogue himself). The final paragraph of this review covers that production specifically. 4 stars. Guinta spares us little on his own thoughts and reflections as a modern soldier. Recommended. Giunta was a sergeant in the 173rd Parachute Infantry Brigade who served in Afghanistan. A SAW gunner while in combat through two tours, he received the Medal of Honor during his second tour. He starts out with a short introduction to his life in Cedar Creek, Iowa. Near the end of high school he and his father had a falling out which results in on going strain on their relationship by the time he joins the 173rd Parachute Infantry Brigade, serving overseas in Italy, Germany and for his first tour of combat. This is a literate, thoughtful account of time as a paratrooper. A lot of time is spent on profiling fellow soldiers, descriptions of training, life overseas in Italy and commentary on army policy and sub-culture with sections detailing his trials in combat. After quite some time in Italy, he is deployed to Afghanistan - where we hear even more soldier profiles and outpost/base life in an unknown and hostile area, Afghan society and the elusiveness of the enemy they are required to combat. He sees some skirmishes and gets wounded, but the highlight of Giunta’s first deployment account is the description put into his surroundings focusing on the stressful environment. The most interesting parts feature the revelation that powerful prescription pain medications like vicodin are used regularly by soldiers, even on extended patrols and a pretty explicit account of purging his body of the shrapnel shards lodged in his leg after a firefights. The latter part is more of a gross description rather than a disconcerting one, like those relayed in HOUSE-TO-HOUSE by David Bellavia, for example. He returns to Italy and the US between deployments and undergoes issues with adjusting to a non-combat setting – dealing with America’s ignorance of combat in Afghanistan compared to Iraq, making some pretty dumb mistakes off base resulting in a lot of embarrassment and a demotion in rank, etc. His final tour is when he underwent the skirmish that resulted in him receiving the MOH and he is thorough in describing all the aspects about that experience, before, during and after. Giunta is very open about his own feelings, faults and impressions throughout the book. This is refreshing after reading the more superficial account of Kyle in AMERICAN SNIPER or the more straight-forward account from INTO THE FIRE, but this makes up the bulk of the book before his second tour of combat and a lot of the same ground is covered repetitively. Some points Guinta spent too much time driving home and after a while, certain opinions/descriptions became tiresome. Also considering the title of the book and the prologue, I was under the impression that there would be more time spent on his MOH account and his subsequent experience as the first guy to get the medal since Vietnam. But this doesn’t happen until the last two hours of the book and though he does give interesting reflections on this topic, they are significantly limited compared to some of the other things Guinta emphasized. Finally, Guinta’s description of combat is thorough - he is honest and forthright about his own actions/how he felt about performing them, but these portions of the book are not relayed in a more compelling manner like Bellavia’s account or other great war memoirs. Still, Guinta gives many interesting insights and a rare AND open view into the mind of a living legend resulting in this 4 star rating. Recommended. The audiobook is read by Keith Nobbs, who does a fine job. Nobbs is younger, with a non-regional American accent and he varies his performance to fit the narrative. Guinta reads both the prologue and epilogue, which is a nice touch.

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