The Great Escape Hardcover – Dec 1 1993
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"For sheer suspense, puts the fictioneers to shame." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"One Of The Great True Stories Of The War, And One Of The Greatest Escape Narratives Of All Time."
The San Francisco Chronicle
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
There are many parallels with the movie: There actually was a prisoner in posession of a brand new civilian suit (obtained in Prague on a previous escape attempt and smuggled back into camp), someone who took a trunk through the tunnel, and the guards actually did use the prisoners' English word to refer to the "cooler." Also true was that once outside the fence, one was far from being "out of the woods," figuratively as well as literally; one was still deep within the heavily-policed, papers-conscious Reich.
There wasn't just one tunnel, though, and here are accounts of absolutely relentless escape attempts and incredibly clever make-do fabrications of fake everything, from gate passes to German uniforms and gun replicas --out of anything they could scavenge, inveigle, connive, beg, borrow, or steal.
There is insight regarding the personalities of the Germans as well as the prisoners, and why these POWs, mostly pilots, were placed in a relatively humane camp, and how they built a well-managed intelligence network among themselves. Some of the British slang and military acronyms from a bygone era gave me pause, but it was part of the adventure. A very inspiring tale!
On March 24, 1944, The Great Escape happened in the midst of World War II. The Nazis had captured various British and Commonwealth Airmen over the course of the war, and they had built an "escape proof" Prisoner of War camp to house the most troublesome of the lot. Stalag Luft III was thought to be the answer to these constant, pesky, breaks for freedom. But it did not work out that way. The prisoners banded together and committed the largest break-out ever. And then chaos happened.
Paul Brickhill was an Australian prisoner in the camp and participated in the planning. Years after the war, he wrote The Great Escape, chronicling how the deed was performed, and the troubling aftermath. While he is not a renowned wordsmith or have an elegant style, he tells the journey very authentically with much research on even the most minute of details. The sheer volume of topics Brickhill must cover to accurately convey the time and place and thinking is mind-blowing. Brickhill wrote other books about the war (The Dam Busters is another classic) and had a long career as a journalist. He passed away in 1991 at 74 years of age.
The book was an instant hit and several years later spawned a massive hollywood film in 1963. While purists take issue the liberties taken with the actual facts, the more realistic parts of the movie still bring chills to historians. The inclusion of Americans in the escape is still a sore point, and Steve McQueen's character is a major irritant. Don't ask devotees about the infamous motorcycle chase, it was painful and awful.Read more ›
If you haven't seen the movie The Great Escape, I highly recommend reading the book and watching the movie. While watching the movie, you can see what characters are based on the real people who took part in the escape. The movie takes some liberties, but it is an excellent companion to the book. An interesting fact is that author Paul Brickhill was one of thousands of prisoners at Stalag Luft III where he documented this incredible story. Also taking part in the movie was tunneller, Wally Floody, who served as a technical advisor to director/producer, John Sturges. For an excellent depiction of the famous mass escape from Stalag Luft III, check out The Great Escape, and the movie too!
My own copy is the First Edition, printed by Norton in 1950 and signed by George Harsh who wrote the Introduction. I got it for an astonishing $12 and it's one of the most treasured books in my collection.
It's part memoir and historical account. You read as the POWs begin their audacious plan and despite for many of them, what would be a tragic ending, you marvel at what these men had to endure and go through.
Despite the tragedy, this is no weepy account. This is a testimony to the human spirit which triumphs in the face of human isolation. They are prisoners true, but they in the end, are the ones to triumph over nazism.
The movie of course, inspired me to read the book, but just remember that the movie's characters are fictional composites of the real men. It would do well to remember the old cliche, "the book is always better than the movie," which is entirely true in this case.
A Wonderful Book.
Most recent customer reviews
I have always loved the movie "The Great Escape". Its distribution was great and I enjoyed every minute of it, everytime I watched it, and I watched it as often as I had... Read morePublished on March 1 2014 by Martine Marcotte
Great story, excellently told, well written. I enjoyed the book better than the movie. A must for any WWII story fan.Published on Sept. 16 2013 by Beverly-Ann Wilson
This book was very interesting. It was almost like reading a thriller with all the suspense. I recommend it to any person with an interest in world war 2.Published on Aug. 9 2012 by Vince18
A fan of the movie, I wanted to read the book. Knowing that the author was one of the prisoners means you are getting the real story, as they experienced it and remembered it... Read morePublished on July 15 2004
Hello, my name is Jack Miller, and in reading The Great Escape, I really began to understand how terrible the war really was. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2003 by Jack
In this installment British and American prisoners are trapped in a Nazi POW camp, and takes place in Germany during WWII. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2003
As good as the movie "The Great Escape" is, it's impossible for it to capture in full detail the grunt work, planning, and tedious efforts that went into digging tunnels out of... Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by C. Pales
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