Despite that, Colton has managed to provide a heartfelt and detailed narrative of what happened to the four men. He doesn’t shy away from the horrors that Palmer, Cox, McCoy and Vervalin experienced as POWs, from bedbug-infested barracks to debilitating disease. It isn’t always easy to read, but the gritty details are essential to their story.
The book provides a picture of WWII that goes beyond the winners and losers of military action. It shows that survivors of the most horrific war experiences carry those experiences forever. “I think that these people are portrayed as heroes, although flawed heroes,” Colton said. “You see them warts and all. Maybe they wouldn’t want some of the warts in the book, but ... the book is meant to pay tribute to these guys.”