Claude Wheeler craves excitement, far more than he can ever find as a farmer's son. He encounters more at university, where the modern world beyond farm life offers new thrills and challenges, only to lose them as the farm calls him back. World War I offers him even more . . . but he may crave excitement more than life itself can allow. Wanting it as much as he does can't protect him from the consequences of personal bravado in an age of killing machines.
Claude Wheeler opened his eyes before the sun was up and vigorously shook his younger brother, who lay in the other half of the same bed. "Ralph, Ralph, get awake! Come down and help me wash the car." "What for?"