The military, in a ""crazy postwar summer of detached service"", reveals some bitter, unpleasant and pathetic qualities in its stay in Daremme, Belgium, and it is in the men passing through, Frank Tate in particular, that this in-between time is portrayed. From the boys in the latrine, from the brass, from other units coming or going, comes the feeling of discontent, uncertainty and sometimes rebellion as they try to make themselves at home, to live with these French-speaking Belgians, and to compensate for something they haven't got. Tate tries to hold on with a job he never wanted, a responsibility that almost ends by strangling him; he all but rebels at trying to chart a pattern that will hold together the contrary, wilful, childish soldiers and officers; he, along with others, finds a foreign love, which is as unreal as the summer. Throughout are the misfits, the psychotics, the trouble makers and the cynics in uniform who are counterbalanced by the people of Daremme trying to adjust to this peacetime invasion which conflicts with their privacy and respectability. Like his earlier The Long Chance (Messner, 1955) this flatfoots its way through a certain phase of Service Life in often debatable terms.