This is the harrowing journal of an American Marine fighting in Vietnam. Scared but brave, Patrick must deal with all of the dangers and emotions of life in a war zone. Right out of high school in 1967, Patrick Seamus Flaherty joins the Marines to fight in Vietnam. Southeast Asia is a far cry from Patrick's Boston roots. "Getting off the plane felt like having an entire offensive line slam into you at once. It was so hot I swear I forgot my own name, and my uniform went from dry to soaked — and I mean, dripping — in maybe a minute. I was still pretty flipped out by the heat, when I suddenly noticed that the place just reeked, too. Man, talk about funk. Smelled like the whole country was one huge, open-air latrine." Writing in the journal his father gave him, Patrick transports his readers to Khe Sanh through the smells, tastes, sounds, horrors, and friendships that are so much of the chaos called war.