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An intimate story of young man's life. Claude Wheeler's stormy youth, his enigmatic marriage, and the final adventure which releases the baffled energy of the boy's nature, are told with almost epic simplicity. World War I offers him even more, but he may crave excitement more than life itself can allow. Wanting it as much as he does can't protect him from the consequences of personal bravado in an age of killing machines. But behind the personal drama there is an ever deepening sense of national drama, of national character, working itself our through individuals and their destiny.