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The Real Great Escape
 
 

The Real Great Escape [Kindle Edition]

Guy Walters
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

"Guy Walters strips away the myths to reveal the real story behind the film and finds the truth to be no less thrilling. This is utterly compelling and once again shows there is no better investigator in this field." (James Holland)

Book Description

The in-depth study on this world-famous escape adventure.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5624 KB
  • Print Length: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (31 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007T99NGW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,140 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Guy Walters is the author and editor of nine books, which include four wartime thrillers, the critically acclaimed Berlin Games and his latest work, Hunting Evil. With James Owen he co-edited The Voice of War, an anthology of Second World War memoirs. Shortlisted for the 2006 William Hill Sports Book of the Year and the NASSS's 2007 Outstanding Book award, Guy has been an author since he left The Times of London, where he was a feature writer and a commissioning editor.
His books have been translated into several languages, and Hunting Evil has been and will be released in the UK, the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Holland, France, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Romania.
Guy writes for a handful of UK newspapers and magazines, and is a frequent contributor to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. He regularly gives talks to societies up and down the country. When he finds the time, Guy is currently working on his PhD at Newcastle University under the supervision of Professor Tim Kirk.
His wife, Annabel Venning, is also an author, and they live in Wiltshire in the southwest of England with their two children, William, 7, and Alice, 5. In his spare time, he is a keen player of croquet and pétanque. Further biographical information (most of it correct) can be found on the wikipedia.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The story of the Great Escape is well-known to all of us because we've all seen the film but, as Guy Walters shows in this new deconstruction, the familiar story is a myth. The justification for launching a mass breakout from Stalag Luft 3 was the notion that it would tie up German resources at a critical time, as they were losing their military grip on the Eastern Front and anticipating landings in the West. In fact, experience of previous mass breakouts meant that the German system for locking down the transport system and launching large scale searches was well practised and effective, whilst for the most part, the escapers preparations were inadequate for the task they faced. The consequence of this was that of the 76 men who actually got out of the tunnel only three - a Dutchman and two Norwegians - made it to Britain, whilst 50 were murdered in squalid circumstances by the Gestapo, on orders from Hitler. No aircraft were stolen and there were no exciting motorcycle stunts; in fact no Americans took part in the actual escape as they had all been moved out of that part of Stalag Luft 3 before it could take place.

The questions that Walters asks in this book are the questions that serious historians should have asked a long time ago: why did this happen and could it have been avoided? The answers he comes up with are intriguing. The Great Escape was very much the project of one man - Roger Bushell - a barrister and amateur pilot from a privileged background, who flew pre-war with the 'Millionaire's Squadron' of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Called up to lead a fighter squadron in 1939, Bushell was shot down during his first day in combat in 1940 and spent the rest of his life either as a prisoner or on the run.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Great Escape 1 Feb 2013
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For most of us, what we know about "The Great Escape" comes from a movie. As the author himself wryly says, "the story of the film for those who missed it last Christmas...." Well, I have to confess that, although I have watched bits of the film over the years, I have rarely sat through any film all of the way through and so my knowledge of what happened (especially at the end) was lacking. Just in case you, like me, have no idea of what happened, I will not spoil your enjoyment of the book and the retelling of this wartime event, which often reads like a Boy's Own adventure story.

In early 1942 the Germans opened a top security POW camp in Lower Silesia for captured Allied airmen - it was called Stalag Luft III and it soon contained some of the most inventive escapees, including Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, who masterminded the attempt to smuggle hundreds of POW's out through a tunnel. Guy Walters goes so far as to suggest that without Roger Bushell there would have been no 'Great Escape' as he had the dynamic leadership, organisational genius and vaulting ambition needed to think up such a plan. Bushell was a barrister, with an amazing capacity for languages, a dare devil skier and pilot, whose wartime career was cut very short indeed and who had a burning desire to escape and rejoin the war in an active role.

The author spends much time at the beginning of this fascinating account discussing and describing the personalities involved, from the prisoners themselves to the Germans who ran the camp. It seems obvious that Colonel von Lindeiner, who was in charge of the POW camp, was an honourable man who did his best to protect his charges and, like many of the Germans, had a careful eye on what would happen after the war.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good already 1 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover
Come on now. For the Dutch, WW2 was our darkest hour. Even worse than losing the 74 final to Beckenbauer's bunch, though of course there's a big similarity. Always the Germans now. Johan and Johann say I should get over this and have a toke, but part of being a Bellendje is nursing such grudges, no? Anyway, all this preamble - I feel like the Dutch Jeremy Clarkson, taking ages to get to the point - so now I address the book of Guy van der Walters. Most excellent it is too, especially when enjoyed with some Ecuadorian Amber. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. So good already.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional read 21 Dec 2013
By bungie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The film is one of my all time favourites, wanted to read and try and digest the conditions in camp, the bravery of all those involved, and the ruthlessness of the murders .
A stomach turning read that left me sad and angry at times, but also very proud and humble.
Never be forgotten and rest in peace to all those lost.

Bungie
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't bother. 28 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback
Not really compelling. Not really well written (some of the sentences are painful, crashing together odd words with that old favourite, the thesaurus suggestion). I still enjoyed it, but it really does read like a PhD thesis crossed with GCSE history analysis, and there are so many characters I just got lost. Best bits: the escape stories and the aftermath.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth behind the myth? 18 Nov 2013
By Mr M.R.Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Whether or not there are inaccuracies in this, I am not qualified to say (see C.A.Rollings rather spiteful, self-serving 3* review, in which he also crassly plugs his own book). The Great Escape itself is firmly embedded in British consciousness, due to the iconic Hollywood version. By Hollywood standards, it's actually reasonably accurate (so only mildly inaccurate then!), but this well-written tome paints a rather different picture of an enterprise that has assumed mythical status.

The author's conclusion that the escape was at best pointless, at worst wasteful & counter-productive, is certainly contentious, but on the evidence that he presents, it is equally certainly a valid point of view. Whether it's correct or not is another matter. History, after all, is largely a matter of reading through different viewpoints & trying to sift out for yourself what you think is right. Despite the quibbling of Mr Rollings, the book appears to be well researched; the copious notes, mostly document references, form some 20% of the book. Moreover, the author regularly comments on the dubious nature of some of the documentary evidence he is relying on; especially that of some of the former "Kriegies", who often exagerrate, embellish, and sometimes simply lie. Whatever faults there may be in this book, it is very readable, very interesting, and will surely change your perception of the truth behind the myth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Basic facts wrong.
One has to seriously doubt the worth of this book when one reads in the description that the camp was in "occupied Poland". This is absolute nonsense! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Magnus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
a good story with lots of statistics.
Published 4 months ago by Mr D.R.Sargeant
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
boring
Published 5 months ago by FRED PAYNE
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, an excellent read
This book tells the true story of the Great Escape. It's very readable and a must for anyone interested in what really happened in the most famous break-out of the Second World... Read more
Published 6 months ago by AE, Surrey
4.0 out of 5 stars Put the facts straght
So Bushell & Co weren't quite the good guys that we had always been lead to believer. Nor were all Germans bad
Published 7 months ago by Mr. K. A. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the film!
A comprehensive and complex narrative well worth the read. I learned a great deal more about this event than ever before (eg just how many nationalities were involved) and about... Read more
Published 8 months ago by SSS
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Great Escape
Is there anyone out there who has never watched The Great Escape? This is the story of the Real Great Escape, were as the blurb says myths are stripped away to reveal the real... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Great Escape
Amazing historical content. I so much admire the men who suffered yet did not give up on their goals. It's now hard finding something to follow which is so interesting and factual.
Published 14 months ago by Jackie Betteridge
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Great Escape
Very pleased with the swiftness of the arrival, its in excellent condition, I'm buying this for, I know he will be delighted with it.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. M. Myler
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
the most comprehensive book on this subject I have read. A really good read. I would thoroughly recommend readind this account.
Published 16 months ago by david rogers
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