An effective anti-war novel set in Korea by an ex-marine who fought there and who wraps his tale in a bitter shroud. It's been a dirty, irrational, ugly, impossible war for the unit that is about to return to the States after a year's combat. But their reaction to it differs as widely as their personalities--there's Peterson, out for ""herohood"" and the Congressional Medal of Honor regardless of what irresponsible chances he takes; Mitchell, the burned-out veteran who is losing his sense of moral proportion; Kittredge, the sadist; Reynolds, sensitive but tough; Crane, filled with despairing cynicism. And there's young Burdell who will be driven to find release with a woman, be emasculated and finally killed by her husband, a Korean--an atrocity that touches off a monstrous retaliation by the Americans. Mr. Sidney certainly makes his point but with an overwhelming sense of fatalistic futility. Are there no viable alternatives to suicide?