It is 1943, and the war has come home to Loring, Mississippi. As German POWs labor in the cotton fields, the local draft board sends boys into uniform, and families receive flags and condolences. But for Dan Timms, just shy of 18, the war is his ticket out of town and away from the ghosts that haunt him. As he peddles goods from a rolling store for his profiteer uncle, Dan tries to understand his friend L.C., a young man who, on account of his skin, feels like a prisoner himself. But one day, Dan spots Marty Stark who has just returned from Italy, mysteriously reassigned to guard the POWs he was once trained to kill. As Dan soon learns, Marty’s war is far from over and threatens to erupt again.
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|Title of Religion eBook: Prisoners of War|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Prisoners of War|
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Prisoners of War
Chapter OneThe rolling store was one of two old school buses his uncle Alvin had bought after they were deemed unsafe to haul children. The one Dan drove in the summer of 1943 had a couple holes in the floorboard. Half the time the starter wouldn't work, and then he'd have to put the transmission in neutral, get out and turn the hand crank. The rear wheels, which had been pulled off a cotton trailer, were bigger than the ones in front, so the bus always looked like it was headed downhill.
His uncle had outfitted each bus with display cases, candy counters, a soft-drink box and a Deepfreeze. Dan and the other driver, L.C., sold farmers and hoe hands everything from chocolate bars and Nehi sodas to coal-oil lamps and radios. Gas rationing had made the routes more successful than they otherwise might have been, since a lot of folks couldn't get into town very often.
Alvin never had any trouble getting gas, because he never had any trouble getting sugar, something the bootleggers couldn't do without. He traded them hundred-pound sacks of it for cases of bootleg whiskey, which in turn he passed on to the members of the local rationing board. "Seem like making tough decisions gives a fellow a case of cotton mouth," Dan had heard him say. "That's the thirstiest bunch of doctors and lawyers and bankers I ever saw."
His uncle had a special knack for handling people, which usually involved satisfying their appetites. You could tell a lot about a man, he always said, by watching what he put in his mouth.
Dan drove into the lot behind Alvin's country store and parked next to the other bus. L.C. finished first every day. His route was sh...