Definitely above average -- and should not be sold as a war book, although it is the story of a G.I. Joe and set in the frame of a dangerous assignment in a bombed town in Italy. Wounded before he accomplishes his mission, Joe lies there, accepting as assured his return to the states for hospitalisation, and seeing that as the start of a new and better life, with his mistakes behind him. And then he looks back --highlighting the Novembers of a life that was woven around successive attempts to achieve the standing -- financially, socially -- that would entitle him to marriage with Steffie, a girl he had loved since school days. It's been a trial and error sort of life, full of false values, as he tried bootlegging and crooked deals as ways to ""get rich quick"". It's been a life built on shifting sands -- his worship of Steffie the one stable thing in his life, and that marred by false pride. The final break came when she declared she preferred poverty to fear and shame. Then came the war -- and again Steffie and hope was the star before him. Vividly done -- with a feel of realism plus romance.