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on 24 July 2013
First published in 1953, Pen and Sword's edition of Airey Neave's ultimate Second World War escape memoir is a must for any student of history or military enthusiast, but before I delve into the book itself I must comment on its format.

Measuring a practical 16 cm x 23.5 cm in size with a flexible resilient paperback cover, the book is importantly not too heavy, making for excellent reading next to the pool or on a journey, or indeed anywhere.

The cover is well designed appealing to a new generation, as well as older. The book itself reads very much like a thriller novel and immediately draws you in, leading you from the shattered remnants of the British Expeditionary Force at Calais to the impregnability of Colditz castle, and beyond. We not only share Neave's experiences but get a glimpse into his psyche.

This is no ordinary escape memoir, for Neave was no ordinary escaper. The author relates his account through a mix of narrative and flashback, supplemented by excellent images and illustrations. His thoughts help to build a picture of this man and the circumstances he found himself in, not to mention providing a unique and rare insight into the key defendants at the Nuremberg Trials, from a fellow prisoners point of view.

Aside from the main story, what I found especially interesting was the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Neave's fellow prisoners, for without whom such escapes would have been impossible. In particular how escape aids and uniforms were fashioned, sometimes leading to humorous consequences.

They have their exits is definitely worth reading, and reading over and again. Sometimes humorous, the story is one of human resourcefulness, endurance and determination, which brings the author, as well as the reader full circle. If you only manage to pack one book this summer, make it this one.
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on 21 March 2011
Written in the constrained style that exists in all escape accounts in the immediate aftermath of the second World War; it seems amazing we feared a 3rd World war and didn`t want to give our secrets away to those nasty Soviets!! However it is a gripping yarn which not only brings alive the difficulty & frustration of life in a POW camp but the terror that was really involved in escaping.
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on 2 June 2011
This is a remarkable story from a remarkable man.The story is much more than an account of Airey Neave's escape from Colditz.It covers his work as liaison officer in the Nuremburg war crime trials . Neave's ingenuity and determination to escape makes gripping reading along with fascinating description of the precarious route home via Switzerland Germany France and Spain.
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on 18 September 2015
I have read quite a few books about Colditz, lived in Germany for a long time, and went to Schloss Colditz, and have the greatest respect for Airey Neave and all that he achieved.

Some of the recollections of his meeting before the Nuremburg trials were very interesting but the general writing and the description of his escape are very poor. When read, they should like the writings of an early teenage boy that have been reading too many poorly written turn of the century novels. Neave is extremely bias and negative in all his dealings with Germans which poorly slants the book away from real life observations. It is very scant in detail, and seems to jump around a fair bit.

If you want to read this book as an "off it's time" book about the experiences of an Army officer, then read it. If you want a book about the facts/life/stories of the men and escapades at Colditz, I would suggest that you look elsewhere.
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on 30 March 2014
I knew the name Airey Neave and remembered his tragic end from when I was a young schoolboy but only later became aware of his successful escape from Colditz. This book tells the first-hand story of a young man's capture, escape, incarceration, second escape, flight across Germany and return to the UK. It gives the reader an insight into the physical and psychological challenges of the escape . A very interesting and insightful story, which I enjoyed immensely.
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on 16 February 2013
I had not heard of Airey Neave - he was just before my time and callously taken by terrorists.

A local park was named after him and I googled the name. I was amazed.

Here was a guy with which I shared some common ground (same Regiment), but who had achieved so much - war time record, prisoner of war, escaping Colditz, returning to combat, moving into politics.

Incredible. The book arrived quickly and I can't wait to get into it.
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on 11 February 2015
I loved this book, it is a period in history that is full of drama, tragedy and hope, Airey Neave is a name known by many, for his contribution in the post war political arena. I found his description of the despair of being captured, followed by that indomitable spirit, found in some, highly uplifting. Not only did he bring those people involved to life, with their foibles, sometimes unnecessary brutality and often their courage, but his humanity, when confronting his monsters, post war, was particularly heartlifting. I would recommend this book to anyone, who wants a darn good read and good triumphing over evil.
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on 28 February 2014
What a fascinating life Mr Neave lived prior to being assassinated by the usual cowardly IRA bomb as he left the House of Commons. I wanted this book to continue into Mr Neave's life immediately after the war where he delivered the summons to all the defendants at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial in Germany. However he does give us a sneak preview into the ghastly minds of these Nazi monsters. But Airey Neave did write another book about just these events and I shall read it again, when I can find it that is. In the meantime a very good book, written very well, by a brave and exceptional man.
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on 17 September 2013
Without vanity, this story illustrates the indomitable spirit which motivated escaping prisoners of war in WW2. The author, although from an upper middle class background, humbly recognises the courage and bravery shown by people from all walks of life, who were willing to risk their own lives for the sake of others.
Having himself successfully made the 'Home Run' from Colditz. and having experienced of the brutality of the Nazi regime, it is interesting to read his non-judgemental observations on the war criminals whom he met in an official capacity at the Nurnberg Trials.
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on 1 August 2014
There are some stories that just have to be told and Airey Neave's extra-ordinary war time story is one that it seems fitting should re-emerge as an ebook to be rediscovered by new generations in C21. I, like so many of my generation, was virtually weaned on The Colditz story, the Great Escape and other tales of wartime dering do but strangely I was not familiar with Airey Neave's heroic escape efforts and eventual success. That this man should later fall victim to the IRA having escaped the clutches of Hitler's hospitality seems a particularly cruel twist of fate.
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