From the author:
This is my fifth book. It is not a war story. As the title says, it is a prelude to war, about the training to be prepared for war. The book hopes to show the rather primitive conditions of Parris Island, where I went to boot camp, and also at Camp Lejeune. The conditions at the range were a disgrace. The bathrooms were raised toilet seats set over a wooden trough, which ran with water to carry everything to the end and dump it in a barrel. When one used this apparatus, you never knew when someone would light the toilet paper that would then float past you. You could get quite burned if you didn't see it coming. The barracks at the range were simply tar paper shacks with a coal iron stove in the middle. In cold weather you slept with blankets and your overcoat on to stay warm. The wind would rattle the loosely fit windows.
The training was dangerous and we lost several men in what should have been totally preventable accidents. We had several officers and enlisted men who had seen combat and we paid strict attention to what they had to say. I was shocked to find that we were totally segregated, and never mixed with the African American recruits.
I received my corporal stripes and, as my sergeant said, I received rank at an unbelievable pace.
The men and women who go through Parris Island today would hardly believe the way it was in the 40's. This whole book is to show the difference in housing, training, and attitude between then and now.
Arthur E. Stewart