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Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story of the Malmedy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge Hardcover – November 22, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Woman Around Town.com, 12/20/11
"Danny S. Parker illuminates a conflict of the Second World War...the Germans claimed they fired at captives trying to escape; the Americans testified it was cold blooded murder. How the case was tried, and perhaps bungled, is a story in itself."

World War II History, Winter 2012
"It was near the village of Malmedy, Belgium on December 17, 1944 that one of the worst atrocities of World War II took place against American soldiers...Historian Danny S. Parker gives a riveting account of that awful winter day from those who miraculously survived the horrendous ordeal."

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.”

Roanoke Times, 1/1/12
Fatal 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.”

From the Back Cover

"Danny Parker has written the most detailed and reliable account yet of the most notorious atrocity inflicted on U.S. forces in Europe during World War II. Using an impressive array of sources, including interviews with many survivors and witnesses, he has constructed a gripping narrative that is both evocative of the horror of the massacre and restrained and balanced in its conclusions. This is a book that deserves the attention of World War II aficionados."

-James J. Weingartner, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and author of "Americans, Germans, and War Crimes Justice. Law, Memory and the "Good War."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Edition edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306811936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306811937
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
During the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes in December 1944 elements of the Waffen SS captured a convoy of American soldiers at Baugnez crossroads near the town of Malmedy, Belgium. After disarming the soldiers, they were herded into a field and machine gunned, killing most. The wounded that showed any signs of life were summarily executed with a pistol shot to the head. Some Americans who survived the initial storm of bullets and were able feign death, managed to escape to Malmedy to report the slaughter. While the story of the Malmedy massacre has been the subject of many articles and books since 1944, Danny Parker's superbly crafted "Fatal Crossroads" is the most definitive account. He spent years researching archives, military court documents, walking the fields and farm paths at Baugnez, and interviewing surviving American and German soldiers as well as Belgian locals. Parker's level of detail is astonishing, including the location of soldiers when they were captured, where they were shot, and for the few that escaped, their routes to freedom. Similar, he has been able to identify and map where the SS troops were positioned when ordered to kill the American prisoners. While Fatal Crossroads focuses on the carnage at Baugnez and its aftermath, Parker provides valuable insight into the mindset of the Waffen SS and the American soldiers who were reeling from the unexpected German advance. Unquestionably "Fatal Crossroads" is a brillantly written masterpiece and the final word on one of the most notorious incidents of WW II.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Danny S. Parker, Fatal Crossroads. The untold Story of the Malmédy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2011
In considering the history of the Second World War one wonders what really happened with the Waffen SS and the Americans at Malmédy, now 67 years ago. There have been so many accusations back and forth since the war, based on alleged irregularities at the trial. How did the massacre happen? And what were the circumstances that would lead the SS forces to shoot down such a large number of surrendered Americans in a battle only months from the end of the war? This book at last answers these questions in a convincing way. Unlike previous efforts, he has exhaustively examined the archives, both in the United States and in Germany. One gets a sense that he has located all the puzzle pieces - much better than the U.S. military court did after the war in the trial. His persuasive information shows that the killing was decided upon before the first shots. Indeed, there are multiple sources suggesting that unwritten orders were given before the offensive started in Joachim Peiper's command not to take prisoners.
Parker clearly shows that a war crime happened at Malmédy, based on photographic and autopsy evidence directly from original records he furnishes proof, that many of the American soldiers lying in the field had been killed by close shots. It appears that this type of uncontrolled killing was common in Peiper's command - a barbaric warfare imported from the battlefields at the Eastern Front.
Adding to the thorough investigation, the author has sought out German and American veterans as well as civil witnesses from all sides and presents these as interviews within a story that tells of the human side of the victims of a war crime. - This is an important book. Highly recommended.
Missing are lists of abbreviations and literature.
Almut Neunzig
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Format: Hardcover
On December 17, 1944, a convoy of unarmored trucks carrying Battery B of the US Army's 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion left Schevenhütte, Germany, near the dark and foreboding Hürtgen Forest that had been the focal point of such vicious combat, for Luxembourg and what was hoped would be some easier duty.

Most of them would never arrive. In the Ardennes, just south of Malmédy, Belgium, at a crossroads called Baugnez, the column fell foul of the spearhead of the German offensive that would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. By the end of the day, some eighty US soldiers would be dead, having surrendered to the improvised German task force known as Kampfgrüppe Peiper, and, unarmed and herded into a field, subsequently murdered by troops of the Waffen SS. It was at least the second such massacre of Western Allied troops by the Waffen SS, the first being the murder of some 80 British POWs near Dunkerque (Dunkirk), France, in 1940. This was also the only such large-scale massacre of American troops by the Germans in World War II.

The Malmédy Massacre, as this incident has become known, is the subject of a new book by Danny S. Parker called Fatal Crossroads: The Untold Story of the Malmédy Massacre at the Battle of the Bulge.

The reason for the massacre, as well as the responsibility, has never been fully understood. That is the point of Parker's work in Fatal Crossroads. He seeks to determine whether this was a "battlefield incident," which affects all armies including the US Army, or a "deliberate slaughter.
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