* The book opens in January in 1917 in the middle of World War I as five men are being led through a trench to their deaths.
* The first man is called Eskimo or Bastoche and was a carpenter before the war. He was trying to remove a gray hair and accidentally shot himself in the hand. He was convicted of self-mutilation.
* The second man was Six-Sioux. He was a welder and labor organizer. He tried to avoid having to go to war and shot himself in the hand to get out of the army.
* The third man was called Common Law. He and his wife were both orphans and have a son. He shot himself in his write hand, the hand he normally writes with.
* The fourth man was mean but called Angel. He was in prison and was offered the chance to join the war to...
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