My Review (5 stars out of 5)
The classic wartime adventure story that tells how 600 men worked on a plan that would eventually result in 76 men escaping from a prisoner-of-war camp. With men engaged in digging, forging passports and other documents, making suitable escape outfits and keeping the Germans occupied when they got too nosy, this book relates the story and the aftermath of the most audacious escape attempt in history.
Written by Australian pilot Paul Brickhill, the book begins with the various escape attempts made by several men before being captured and interned in a new camp, Stalag Luft III. Going into meticulous detail, the author describes the many different roles taken by prisoners in their efforts to stage a mass breakout from the camp. Although somewhat different to the movie version, many incidents are familiar, such as the escapee who inadvertently answers in English when questioned under his disguise as a French businessman.
One noticeable feature of the book is the author’s choice not to include himself in the story. Though Brickhill was at the camp and worked as a tunneller and lookout before taking charge of security for the forger team, he wrote The Great Escape from the point of view of an all-seeing observer.
A classic tale of courage, ingenuity and determination, and a must-read for anyone interested in WWII.