Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story of the Malmedy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge

Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story of the Malmedy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge

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by Danny S. Parker
     
 

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On December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, more than eighty unarmed United States soldiers were shot down after having surrendered to an SS unit near the small crossroads town of Malmédy, Belgium. Although more than thirty men lived to tell of the massacre, exactly what took place that day remains mired in controversy. Was it just a

Overview

On December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, more than eighty unarmed United States soldiers were shot down after having surrendered to an SS unit near the small crossroads town of Malmédy, Belgium. Although more than thirty men lived to tell of the massacre, exactly what took place that day remains mired in controversy. Was it just a “battlefield incident” or rather a deliberate slaughter? Who gave the orders: infamous SS leader Jochen Peiper or someone else?

Fatal Crossroads vividly reconstructs the critical events leading up to the atrocity—for the first time in all their revealing detail—as well as the aftermath. Danny S. Parker spent fifteen years researching original sources and interviewing more than one hundred witnesses to uncover the truth behind the Malmédy massacre, and the result is riveting.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Poughkeepsie Journal, 9/4/11
“A riveting account.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review), 10/15/11
“A sharply focused look at a grisly 1944 incident, the massacre of more than 80 American prisoners outside Malmédy, Belgium. Assembling a massive amount of data (the back matter alone consumes more than 120 pages), the author views the tragedy from the perspectives of survivors, the Germans and the Belgian civilians, some of whom aided the wounded, some of whom did not…Comprehensive, definitive, grim and gripping.”

WWII History magazine, Winter 2011
“[A] riveting account.”

Roanoke Times, 1/1/12Fatal Crossroads manages to bridge the often uncomfortable terrain between in-depth details tailored for historians and brilliant, readable narratives appealing to lay readers…Parker not only sheds light on an oft-forgotten portion of the American experience in World War II, he rigorously dissects it, providing a benchmark for any future studies of the Malmedy massacre.”

Military Review, 12/1/12
Fatal Crossroads provides a valuable analysis of the Malmedy Massacre through firsthand accounts of its victims, perpetrators, and observers. It provides a unique, realistic awareness of wartime atrocities.” 

Kirkus Reviews
Military historian Parker (The Battle of the Bulge: The German View, 1998, etc.) returns with a sharply focused look at a grisly 1944 incident, the massacre of more than 80 American prisoners outside Malmédy, Belgium. Assembling a massive amount of data (the back matter alone consumes more than 120 pages), the author views the tragedy from the perspectives of survivors, the Germans and the Belgian civilians, some of whom aided the wounded, some of whom did not. The author begins with a snapshot of a field full of casualties, then points our attention to survivor Bill Merriken, whose experiences Parker revisits throughout. The author sketches the genesis of the Battle of the Bulge and rehearses the events from various perspectives. At times, the narrative seems almost to have a rewind button: Parker tells about an incident, then repeats it from the point of view of another participant or witness. He was able to interview some living survivors--on both sides (though the SS officers and others were less than candid)--and casts a critical light on the war-crimes trials that ensued, noting that there was, to some extent, a rush to judgment. Some of the guilty escaped; some innocent were convicted. Parker pins down the name of the man who fired the first shot but is unable to determine who gave the order for the massacre--though a principal candidate is Battalion Commander Jochen Peiper. At his trial, Peiper remained unbowed and unrepentant. Some of the details are wrenching--especially the first-person accounts of survivors, wounded in the cold, hearing Germans moving among them, executing the remaining survivors. In an appendix, Parker provides stories about the fates of the participants and a look at Malmédy today. Comprehensive, definitive, grim and gripping.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306811937
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/22/2011
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Danny S. Parker, an expert on the Ardennes Offensive, has written extensively about the military campaign. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Battle of the Bulge and he lives in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

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Fatal Crossroads 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
TS_TacDoc More than 1 year ago
I understand this is only one part of a four volume set by Danny Parker. The other volumes will tell the rest of Peiper's military and personal career. The Baugnez Crossroads story has been told before, but Parker has made broad and deep connections with the survivors from all sides and had expert interpreters that could recognize nuance and inference in the SS interviews. A gripping read that may not have the definitive answers, but sheds light on some of the persisting shadows. Looking forward to the future volumes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could be deleted by Barnes and Noble.
W_K More than 1 year ago
Might be a good book, but as a birthday present to a son that was sent late, unwrapped and without a birthday card, all of which were paid for, his wife says he set it on a shelf until he gets over his anger at Barnes & Noble.