Michael Walsh had enlisted in the Army when he was sixteen years old. He departed shortly after turning seventeen. About a week after turning eighteen, he was in Vietnam. He was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division during 1967 and 1968. This included the Tet Offensive early in 1968.
After approximately four months, it became clear that the war was more often being waged against the South Vietnamese people rather than on their behalf. The horror of war was intensified by the lack of moral purpose and the absence of legal justification for a war that was neither defensive nor declared.
The author decided to protest the war. He refused to participate by refusing to carry a rifle and, of course, endured a great deal of opposition, some of it violent and life-threatening.