1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Barbed-Wire University: The Real Lives of Allied Prisoners of War in the Second World War (Paperback)
This is a very readable social history of the lives of prisoners of war. Gillies is very good at picking out the interesting stories and anecdotes from the interviews she has conducted and the sources that she has studied. She makes clear in the introduction that there have been many histories about escaping from POW camps, so she steers clear of that in her book, although a short chapter or two wouldn't have gone amiss. It's an excellent read but there are a couple of quibbles. The book is split into parts, with 1 and 3 looking at Europe and 2 and 4 looking at the Far East. There's a lot of overlap between the parts, and I'm not clear why it was decided to split them up - many of the themes are very similar (education, sport, health...) and it feels like some of the points are repeated between them. The last couple of parts looking at the end of the war deal with both Europe and the Far East together and I think they work better. Also, I'd have liked Gillies to consider the experiences of Axis prisoners in Allied camps - what were the differences and similarities between them? However, this is still worthwhile seeking out to find out about the soldiers' lives in captivity, something that most of us can thankfully only imagine.