Puller won the Pulitzer Prize for this book but killed himself a few years after it was published. His suicide undercut the message of the book, which was how he overcame the psychological scars of being a triple amputee. Puller was the son of the most famous Marine in U.S. history. As such, much was expected of him. He went to Vietnam, stepped on a mine, and lost two legs and one arm. Post-surgery, he struggles with the psychological impact of being a triple amputee and with alcoholism. One of his friends during recovery was another amputee, Bob Kerrey, who went on to be a U.S. Senator.