An exciting account from a passionate author who has done the necessary research.




A detailed look at the escape attempts by intrepid British and American POWs from Nazi camps near the end of World War II.

Military historian Dando-Collins (Rise of an Empire: How One Man United Greece to Defeat Xerxes's Persians, 2014, etc.) concentrates on the escape attempts at Schubin, Poland (Oflag 64), due south of Danzig, and, later, at Sagan, Silesia. At first, the Schubin camp housed many Royal Air Force pilots shot down in combat—along with a couple of North Americans who had joined the Canadian air force—and the first amazing escape attempt, in the spring of 1943, involved an incredibly well-organized endeavor by the men’s “X Organization” to dig a tunnel under the latrines, leading eventually to an irrigation ditch in a potato patch outside the camp’s electric wire perimeter. Indeed, 46 prisoners made a successful getaway, although most were apprehended a few days later, many turned in by Polish locals. Subsequently, the POWs were moved by truck to Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan, while newly arrived U.S. Air Force officer POWs at Oflag 64 attempted a brazen escape by going under the wire without detection. After so many escape attempts, the Germans cracked down, threatening to shoot on sight, and the escape organizations had to simmer down. By the beginning of 1945, the war was going badly for the Germans, and to evade the approaching Russians, the German military would begin the huge and ungainly task of moving by foot (many using makeshift sleds) more than 300,000 Allied POWs from the east to the west, deep into Germany. As Dando-Collins enthusiastically recounts, it was “game on” for the prisoners, who took advantage of every opportunity to hide and elude the Germans.

An exciting account from a passionate author who has done the necessary research.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08756-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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


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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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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