Stephen Gornik grew up during The Great Depression in a poor immigrant family in Chicago's South Side neighborhood, Back of the Yards. Days after his 21st birthday, he received a draft letter for report to Army duty. In basic training, he accepted the challenge to join the Paratroopers. Soon thereafter, he was deployed for service in The Korean War. These are his letters home and those he received in return. A prolific and candid writer, Gornik describes in gritty detail his daily challenges, triumphs and, perhaps mostly poignantly, self-discovery. The war experience also imbued Gornik with a fierce determination to transcend early poverty, severe beatings by his father and the extreme shyness of his youth.