RYAN'S EXPRESS by David Westheimer


Email this review


n action adventure tale, Von Ryan's Express remains quite credible until halfway through, when the action begins to pour and roar like Walter Mitty in fullflood. During WW II Colonel Joe Ryan crashes in Italy and is interned at POW Concentration Camp 202. There are about a thousand British and American prisoners living in squalor, overseen by Italian troops. Colonel Ryan, as ranking officer, ssumes control of the POWs and begins running their lives like a West Point commandant. He makes them shave, cut their hair, police their barracks and latrines, ttend to their uniforms, hold physical training daily and have close-order drill. He is such a martinet that the POWs dub him ""Von"" Ryan, meaning he's strict as a . When Italy capitulates, German troops arrive and hustle the POWs into a for Germany. Von Ryan and several officers successfully hijack the train maneuver it through Italy and across the Swiss border to freedom. The super colonel, a real scrapper who can kill faster than James Bond, is essentially escapist conception, while the POWs and Germans and Italians are seldom deeper than movie types. Still, men may very well enjoy it.

Publisher: Doubleday