In this exciting book, Felton has captivatingly captured the bravery of the prisoners.

ZERO NIGHT

THE UNTOLD STORY OF WORLD WAR TWO'S GREATEST ESCAPE

Military historian Felton (China Station: The British Military in the Middle Kingdom, 2013, etc.) delivers a page-turner about one particularly daring escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II.

The men who populated the “vast enclosure” of Oflag VI-B in Warburg had mostly been captured in actions at Dunkirk, Crete, and northern France. There were nearly 3,000 prisoners, all officers except for 400 “other ranks.” What makes this story particularly absorbing is the author’s use of diaries and interviews to re-create dialogue. These extraordinary men were the most determined escape artists in captivity, and Oflag VI-B was especially built in 1941 to contain them. Their ingenuity, creativity, resourcefulness, and daring would make for great fiction—but it’s all true. At the beginning of the plot, an “X” committee controlled how many tunnels were being dug. The perimeter of the camp was guarded by two parallel fences 12 feet high, with a wire-filled void between to deter climbing. The group’s greatest escape attempt was the brainchild of Maj. Tom Stallard, who proposed to take hundreds of men out in one fell swoop. His “ladder,” based on medieval siege engines, would reach the top of the fence, and a bridge would span the gap. Those involved set to work, creating rope from the twine binding Red Cross boxes and stealing wood and nails from camp structures. They even concealed the ladder as shelving in the music hut. The greatest contribution came when Capt. Kenneth Searle noticed a major unfused spur line leading to the cobbler’s hut, an oversight that would enable him to short out perimeter lights to enable the escape. The author grippingly tracks the evaders’ trek to freedom, an event that would warrant a book in itself. Even the epilogue will bring a smile.

In this exciting book, Felton has captivatingly captured the bravery of the prisoners.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-07374-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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