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Rick Ward wants to go to war.
He doesn't know why. Maybe he's running from his dad, who has an uncontrollable temper. Maybe he's running from a lost love, his high-school sweetheart, who is a stranger to him now. Or maybe he's just running -- to find himself.
Desperate to experience real life, Rick enlists in the army with the Charlie Rangers, a special unit in Vietnam. They infiltrate the jungle, kill with precision, and get out quickly. Rick isn't sure he can shoot anyone, but he wants to be tested, like his heroes, Hemingway and Conrad. If he can see the heart of darkness and survive, he'll be a man -- and finally have something to write about.
But as Rick discovers, war isn't what anyone -- either the protestors, the politicians, or the writers -- say it is. It's far bigger, scarier, and more complicated than anything he could ever have imagined.
Dean Hughes captures the sights and sounds of war -- and the courage of a young soldier fighting to survive.