This is the second volume in a trilogy, the first being 'Spitfire on my Tail' which introduces us to the author from childhood in a troubled Germany, through his pre-war military career, then to his experiences in the Battle of Britain leading to his eventual shoot-down in England. After describing his impressions of a bountiful country which he and his colleagues had been assured 'was on its knees', he is transported to internment in Canada where he begins a career as a prolific escapee. His descriptions of these escapades, and general camp life, are written in wonderfully detailed prose which is a joy to read, mainly because of course so little is known about the circumstances which prevailed in that place and time. Absolutely loved it, as will you if you enjoy good war stories. An unmissable part of the turmoil known as WW2.
This is an interesting and unusual story of a Luftwaffe Officer, starting from his crashlanding in the UK in Oct.1940 and continuing with his experiences as a prisoner of war and his many attempts to escape from his prison camp in Canada.
Whilst he doesn't of course deny his patriotism for his fatherland, he neverless shows a degree of humility unusual amongst many of his contempories who have writen similar accounts of being a german fighter pilot in WW2.
Steinhilper comes over as a basicaly decent and thoughtful man who has benefited from his experiences and has a valid and worthwhile story to tell.
I read this after the 'Spitfire' book. The writer was an exceptionally daring man who was obsessed with escaping from Canadian POW camps.I suppose if you're prepared to go up in a not too reliable fighter aircraft and risk being shot down or having a fatal accident,then escaping is relatively tame. He must have been a handful for the Canadians. He is a decent man, but hardly questions the regime for which he fought. As far as he was concerned,Germany was hard done by at the end of WW1, and that justified all they did under Hitler.He claims that he wasn't a Nazi, but it was the enthusiastic support for their military adventures by the author, and people like him, that caused so much death and misery. I would like to read the third volume in this series,but it's over £50,so I pass.
When I came to the end of Steinhilper's first book, Spitfire On My Tail, I was left wondering what happened next. It was a great ending which left the reader wanting more, but at the time I had no idea that the author had written another book to continue the story. Furthermore, he had actually written a trilogy. Whereas the first book starts and continues at a slow pace (but highly interesting) until the Battle of Britain begins, this second book is full of suspense and action from beginning to end. I have read so many books of fighter pilots and escapes, but Ulrich Steinhilper's work stands out high above the rest. I really warmed to him and his style of writing. At the moment I am looking forward to reading the last of the trilogy, which, perhaps as a mark of its popularity, is often for sale at a price three times that of other works of the type.
This is the second in a trilogy of books following the fortunes of Ulrich Steinhilper, from Growing up in Germany Pre ww2, as fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain, becoming Prisoner of War and his subsequent escapes / repatriation.
The First book, Spitfire on my Tail is not only truly readable but gives an insight 'from the other side' on so many things, especailly why Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and the other countries up to and including Poland and also perhaps why the soon to be allies failed to intervene until it was too late.
If you have an interest in this type of work, I thoroughly recommend this book and the others in the trilogy.