“Great Escapes of World War II” by Freya Hardy

Readers would know by now that I am a major World War II buff. As a child I was fascinated by the subject and since then have devoured almost every book I could lay my hands on, even though now those days seem so far away with over 6o years or more since the German surrender. An interesting aspect of these war stories were the attempts to escape from captivity by the Allied prisoners of war (POWs) .

Several legends have grown out of these escape attempts. Many tried to escape and only a very few succeeded. Freya Hardy’s book, ” Great Escapes of World War II: Tom Dick and Harry to Stalag to Colditz”  speaks of different escape bids including some of the more famous ones like Airey Neave’s amazing escape from Colditz which was supposed to be the toughest POW camp of all time.

I read the Kindle version and if there was any disappointment it was at the length of the book which is 58 pages which one could read in a jiffy. This seems to be the condensed version of a bigger book perhaps.

Despite the limitations of length, the author was able to describe in some detail the conditions in the POW camps. We read of how some prisoners were resigned to their fate. They preferred to hang on till they were rescued  while others showed more spirit and initiative believing  it was their duty to try to escape and harass their captors in as many ways as they possibly could. Some of the stories describe the ingenuity of the human mind and how the prisoners succeeded in making fake uniforms, documents and the like despite the severe constraints they faced.

Recommended if you like World War stories, as you will forgive the author the short length and reminiscence instead on the deeds of some very brave men who continued to fight the War in their own ways despite the hardships of being in captivity.


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