Lt. Colonel Bull Meecham is the terror of the Marine flight squadron he commands in South Carolina and an even greater menace at home, where he runs his wife and four children on schedules like a drill instructor turning recruits into psychopaths. Bull has the Irish virus (bottled) and a Jekyll-Hyde personality that seems permanently frozen into Hyde. He's also plenty gung-ho Old Corps and he thinks the Marine Hymn is the greatest song ever written. And he is the great Santini, a comedian in his better moments. The story is told through his son Ben's eyes as he nears eighteen. Every aspect of Marine officer family life is shown, as well as the recurring ape-dance rites at the officers club. Ben's problem is that he hates his father--even after that fatal flight from which Bull does not return. Unfortunately Bull's not easy to like or to forgive--he only has one 400-page roar on his fiddle in a semi-autobiographical account which runs to more than 500. Only ex-marines will recognize Santini's every whipsaw syllable.