The Last Detail
Unlike other branches of the armed services, the Navy draws it police force from the ranks, as temporary duty called Shore Patrol. In this funny, bawdy, moving novel set during the height of the Vietnam War, two career sailors in transit in Norfolk, Virginia—Billy “Bad-Ass” Buddusky and Mule Mulhall—are assigned to escort eighteen-year-old Larry Meadows from Norfolk to the brig in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he is to serve an eight-year sentence for petty theft. It’s good duty, until the two old salts realize the injustice of the sentence and are oddly affected by the naive innocence of their young prisoner.
In the five days allotted for the detail, they decide to show Meadows something of the life he doesn’t yet know, to help him survive the long ordeal ahead and to purge their own shame. What follows is an unlikely road trip by bus and train up the Eastern seaboard and an indelible journey of initiation and discovery, filled with beer-soaked wisdom, big city lights, revelry, brawls, debauchery, love, and surprising moments of tenderness.