I do not recall why I grabbed this one. This the first of three novels in a series. I'll likely read the next two.
Reasoner does not skimp on sex scenes. There were several in this one. Slightly graphic but not like those goofy vampire books that pass through.
Three dudes, one gal, and the gal's brother in 1939 and 1940. All three dudes are college-age with one in law school. Joe and Dale are brothers from a poorer family and are about 3-4 years apart in age. Adam is also poor and lives with his mom in an apartment and is dating the wealthy WASP Catherine. Catherine is the daughter of a physician and well-known isolationist. Her dad is privately an an anti-semite who forbids her relationship with Jewish Adam. Catherine gives Adam a handjob in a outdoor alcove of her parents' house anyway. Catherine's brother, Spencer, is a 17 year old layabout who is kicked out of boarding school for running a gambling ring. Spencer ends up screwing a local high-class, but sleazy, acquaintance of one of his high-roller gambler friends. He then has to steal cash from his father when the floozy extorts money out of him for a (false) abortion. Joe and Dale (I kept thinking of Chip 'n Dale) don't always get along and their father is turned a drunkard since an injury keeps him from work. Dale ends up screwing a banker's wife - he did not know she was married - and in revenge the banker starts putting hte screws to the family. Catherine marries Adam on the sly and they engage in lots of sex scenes.
All five join the service to escape bad situations. Jim and Dale join the Army to get out of Chicago as a way to satisfy the cuckolded husband. Adam joins the Marines for several reasons. Catherine joins the Navy as a nurse to try and be near Adam. Spencer joins the Navy after his father kicks him out of the house. Adam goes to the Pacific and is upset because he is all set to kill Hitler. Catherine is posted to Hawaii and witnesses the attack on Pearl and her brother's death. Joe and Dale end up in Texas and are assigned to mechanic and radio specialties. Joe and Dale are assigned to a armored unit that is testing tanks destined for England under the lend-lease program. They deploy as trainers to England.
Great job showing the build-up to the war. The importance of lend-lease and guarded supply convoys bringing the country to a war footing. The inevitable feeling of war with Germany but no concern for Japan's aggression. The draft implementation and attempted build up of forces. The reluctance of being drafted. Good descriptions of life as a new soldier and the rapidly built camp in Texas. Texan and pulp aficionado Reasoner finds a way to stick Robert E. Howard's name in there.
I must have liked this more than I think because I sure wrote a lot about it.