• The book is a series of diary entries by Norman Lewis.
• An armistice is signed on September 8, 1943.
• Lewis arrives in Italy with a new unit; they have no orders and no idea of the situation.
• Many of the men in Lewis' section have never used a weapon.
• Lewis is isolated; he is a newcomer while the others in his section have fought together previously.
• Lewis does not think much of the American troops.
• By September 11, 1943, Lewis' section has joined the Fifth Army.
• The American soldiers announce that they have orders to execute any Germans they find, even if they try to surrender.
• Lewis is very uncomfortable with the notion of executing Germans who would surrender.
• Fighting begins on September 12, 1943.
• The inexperienced American soldiers do not know how to react when German tanks arrive; they begin shooting each other in the confusion.
• The Fifth Army retreats on...
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