The short stories in this volume were all based on the experiences of Leon Goodman in the 1930's and '40s. The first story, a work of fiction, "Cargo From Messina" was based on the experience as a steward on the freighter the S.S. Exmouth. "Verboten" and "S.S. Manhattan" were both set on the passenger ship S.S. Manhattan, where he worked as a bellhop. These stores are also fiction. "Battery Punishment" and "Parade Rest" were both true experiences Mr. Goodman had during army training at Camp Stewart, Georgia in May, 1941, six months before the war broke out. When the war in Europe was over, and U.S. troops were preparing for the invasion of Japan, his mortar battalion was sent to the Pacific theater, anchored off Ulithi Atoll. After the atomic bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 his unit was sent to Okinawa. One of their jobs was to smoke the Japanese out of the caves. It was against this background that the story "Sergeant Whitten" was set.