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This is the story of William D. Zartman, who was born and grew up in Shamokin, a small coal-mining town in eastern Pennsylvania. As Bill tells his story, we learn that his father owned one of the town's most interesting stores, Mon's Place, where the miners, some of the most memorable characters you'll ever meet, filled their gas tanks, ate lunch, played pool or cards, and, generally, "loafed." But Bill, eager to leave Shamokin from the day he left high school, first found his escape route via a sales job, then in a much more dangerous pursuit when he became the youngest member of Darby's Rangers, America's elite fighting force in World War II. Wounded and captured in Italy, he was imprisoned in one of Nazi Germany's brutal work camps until he managed one of the war's most improbable escapes.