Parker's Crossroads: Revenge of the Golden Lion
by James R. Cooley
Trafford Publishing

"I had to get into battle some way. It meant life or death to me. I don't think I ever wanted anything so desperately in my life."

War can be a living hell. But those who suffer as a POW suffer another kind of living hell altogether. In Parker's Crossroads, Jack Ebbott regales to his writer friend, Ogden Santee, his youth, his family, his discovery of women and his journey in the army. At age nineteen, desperate for a career in the armed services and fearing he will miss the war, Jack finds himself immersed in bloodshed and the reality of war becomes all too real and nightmarish. As a medic and later as a prisoner of war, Jack gives aid to the wounded and dying men. Death seems to be a kind liberation from the horrific torture and savagery at the hands of the Germans and what Jack and his fellow comrades witness and suffer should never be wished upon anyone.

The novel comprises is Jack Ebbott's deeply personal story. The title refers to the battle of Baraque de Fraiture, a life changing event for Jack in December of 1944. While the book offers important insight into the historical significance and the physical and psychological effects of war, it is not altogether clear if the stylistic choice of writing it as creative nonfiction is necessary within the context of Jack's complex history. The book begins rather slowly, is heavy with political and social commentary and the off-topic conversations with Ogden peppered throughout are at times distracting. But once we finally get into the heart of Jack's story, we appreciate and understand fully the unspeakable and insurmountable odds Jack faces in war. His life and experiences of fighting and surviving through World War II is difficult to forget, and his contribution to armed conflict is most honorable.

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