In the summer of 1917, Ernest Hemingway was an 18-year-old high school graduate unsure of his future. The American entry in the Great War stirred thoughts of joining the army. While many of his friends in Oak Park, Illinois, were heading to college, Hemingway couldn't make up his mind, and eventually chose to begin a career in writing and journalism at one of the great newspapers of its day, the Kansas City Star. In six and a half months, Hemingway experienced a compressed, streetwise alternative to a college education, which opened his eyes to urban violence, the power of literature, the hard work of writing, and a constantly swirling stage of human comedy and drama. The Kansas City experience led Hemingway into the Red Cross ambulance service in Italy, where, two weeks before his 19th birthday, he was dangerously wounded at the front. Award-winning writer Steve Paul takes a measure of these experiences that transformed Hemingway from a "modest, rather shy and diffident boy" to a young man who was increasingly occupied by recording the truth as he saw it of crime, graft, exotic temptations, violence, and war. Hemingway at Eighteen sheds new light on this young man bound for greatness and a writer at the very beginning of his journey.