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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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 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 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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on 15 December 2014
The measured writing and matter of fact prose make this remarkable memoir all the more impressive. The sheer courage and tenacity shown by one of the very few successful escapers from the iconic Colditz Castle strike the reader with every twist and turn in the narrative. Equally compelling is the account of dealings with the defeated Nazi High Command as the architects of the Third Reich languished in prison cells of their own at Nuremberg. Neave is a hero in the true sense and his story provides a thought-provoking and entertaining book. Highly recommended.
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on 12 November 2014
The only thing I knew about Airey Neave was that he was a minister under Thacher and that he was blown up by the IRA. This is an amazing book about his experiences escaping German prisoner of war camps in WW2. It ends with him reading out the charges to the senior Nazis at the war crimes trials, which has got to be one of the greatest ironies in history. Very well written and suprising modern in style.
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on 30 August 2014
That such a good man should have been so brutally murdered by a bunch of cowards merely underlines the whole hypocrisy of 'terrorists'. He never claims to be a hero, suffers in the cold and admits to being terrified and afraid, but gets there acknowledging help from friends. A great story of his escapes, and interesting intellectual comment on his dealing with the Nazi war criminals.
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