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

THE BIG BREAK

THE GREATEST AMERICAN WWII POW ESCAPE STORY NEVER TOLD

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more