March 3, 1945, turns into a fateful night of horror for a young American Marine caught in the onslaught of Japanese fire on Iwo Jima. But worse than the machine-gun wounds that he sustains is a reality that he will bury, a mental and psychological scar so terrible that he won’t allow it to surface with doctors at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco. It is only with a nurse who has an actual scar of her own from an abusive stepfather that he finds some respite.
Given a medical discharge after V-E Day, the wounded Marine returns to his home in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, which lies on the fringes of the dying coke and coal country. There he begins the agonizing journey of recognition to confront a naked, shattering truth. How he deals with his strong-willed father, friends, one antagonist, and the nurse who makes her way to Mount Pleasant, will determine the outcome of his nightmare on Iwo Jima.
The Oldest Son is a story of the triumph of hope that springs from the love between a woman and a man.