Joey White, born Giuseppe di Bianco, is on a quest: first, for the woman he loves, second, for his professional self, third, for a place to call home, and finally, for a family of his own. His life in the Brooklyn of the 1940s holds nothing more than a low-level job with the local Mafia family, the di Carlos. Running from the mob in search of the woman he loves, but does not love him, Joey travels to the West Coast with his cornet, and learns to play jazz. Later, an Army hitch puts him the middle of the Korean War, and then a rehab spell in Japan. From there, Joey re-enters American society in the booming post-war period, but his stay is short-lived. He eventually finds himself in Italy, the country from which his family had emigrated decades before. There, his life would unfold in ways he could never have predicted.