Fresh out of a Defiance, Ohio, high school, Thomas Boyd (1898-1935) joined the Marines to serve his country in the patriotic heat of the spring of 1917. In 1919 he came home from the war with a Croix de Guerre and a desire to write. He joined the St. Paul News as a journalist and opened a bookstore, whose patrons included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis. Through the Wheat appeared to immediate acclaim, with F. Scott Fitzgerald calling it "a work of art" and "arresting." Boyd wrote five other works before he died in Vermont of a cerebral hemorrhage at age thirty-seven.