The book is set in the 1960's and the basic plot of this book is how a young black American male from Harlem enlists in the Army after his plans to go to college fall through. He and his platoon find themselves on the front lines in Vietnam and facing the Viet Cong head-on.
The usual hardships of war are present: death, unsanitary conditions, illness, fear. Also present is Perry's desire to find the good in himself and the good in his fellow soldiers. As a black unit, they are consistently given the most dangerous assignments and suffer horrifying casualities. Perry questions the fairness of these decisions, as well as why the United States is involved in this war at all.
It is a great coming-of-age novel, and a wonderful read. By the way, war isn't pretty and you wouldn't expect someone who just watched his best buddy's face get blown off to say, "Golly Gee Willikers. Would you believe that?" So, be prepared for the kind of language that will fit the situation. As the title suggests, they are "fallen angels"--robbed of innocence. The language will portray this as well.