An American author of The Lost Generation, he is known for Company K, The Bad Seed, and other works of psychological fiction. Several of his short stories, including The Little Wife, The Last Meeting, and A Sum in Addition, received the prestigious O. Henry Award.
He briefly studied law at the University of Alabama, but lacked the money necessary to complete his degree.
He received both the Navy Cross and the American Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in World War I.
He was born in Florida, and he grew up in Alabama with ten younger siblings.
His writing was heavily influenced by the work of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.