“The stories I have tried to tell here are true,” says Glasser in his preface. “Those that happened in Japan I was part of; the rest are from the boys I met. I would have liked to have disbelieved some of them, and at first I did, but I was there long enough to hear the same stories again and again, and then to see part of it myself.”
Assigned to Zama, an Army hospital in Japan, Glasser arrived there in September 1968 as a pediatrician in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, primarily to care for the children of officers and high-ranking government officials. But with an average of six to eight thousand wounded per month, Glasser, along with all other available physicians, was called on to treat the soldiers. The death and suffering he witnessed were staggering. The soldiers counted their days by the length of their tour—one year, or 365 days—and they knew, down to the day, how much time they had left. Glasser tells their stories—their lives shockingly interrupted by the tragedies of war—with humane eloquence.