The Great Escape

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Overview

"They were American and British air force officers in a German prison camp. With only their bare hands and the crudest of homemade tools, they sank shafts, built underground railroads, forged passports, drew maps, faked weapons, and tailored German uniforms and civilian clothes. They developed a fantastic security system to protect themselves from the German "ferrets" who prowled their compounds with nerve-racking tenacity and suspicion." It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated
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Overview

"They were American and British air force officers in a German prison camp. With only their bare hands and the crudest of homemade tools, they sank shafts, built underground railroads, forged passports, drew maps, faked weapons, and tailored German uniforms and civilian clothes. They developed a fantastic security system to protect themselves from the German "ferrets" who prowled their compounds with nerve-racking tenacity and suspicion." It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated devotion and vigilance of more than six hundred men - every single one of them, every minute, every hour, every day, and every night for more than a year.
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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Times-Herald
“Absorbing... spine-tingling... puts the average war book so far in the shadow it's not even funny.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the great true stories of the war, and one of the greatest escape narratives of all time.”
Boston Globe
“For sheer suspense, puts the fictioneers to shame.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449210680
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/12/1986
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Brickhill was shot down over Tunisia on March 17, 1943. He was captured by the Germans and soon transferred to Luft III, where he joined organization "X" working on the great escape.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    EXCEPTIONAL

    EXCEPTIONAL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    travis

    Have you ever wondered what it was like to be in a concentration camp during World War II? The Great Escape is a powerful narrative written by Paul Brickhill who tells his life story of when he was in a concentration camp. The story starts off when he was shot down over a German minefield where he was found and immediately taken into the Germans custody. He was later taken to a camp in Eastern Germany where he met organization "x". The x was a crew of prisoners that were coming up with plans to escape from these horrible places. There had been many efforts to escape before but there was never a flawless plan until Paul came. He was going to dig a tunnel too deep for detection and it was going to be 300 yards long so there was no chance of the Germans catching the tunneling system. Once they made it outside they had to join underground railroads, forge passports, fake weapons, and tailor German uniforms and civilian clothes to aid in their escape. In this book you get to experience what it was like during World War II and what it was like to partake in The Great Escape.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Engaging History

    I bought this for my twelve year old who likes the study of history and has a particular interest in WWII. He's reading early in the morning and late at night. He eagerly talks to me about the story. Must be good!

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Great book

    Loved it. Used this for a report- very informative. The storyline was so intresting that this would have been a great book even written terrible (which it's not:)

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  • Posted September 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    to the fifty

    this book was very very good and explained in detail the wanting of pow's wanting to escape from the nazi's. the movie that was based on the book follows the book very well. by putting into effect the need to having three tunnels being dug was a great way to keep the germans from finding out where the prisoners were trying to dig out. having been one of the prisoners at the camp where the escape was taking place, it is great incite of the first hand knowledge of what was going on. u can feel the agony of the tunnel rats as they are digging the tunnels and their feelings as then tunnels cave in from time to time. by having plans as to whenever the ferrets come around and the way the prisoners are able to get around from being found out is terrific.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    The Great Escape Central

    Although The Great Escape is his memoir of time in a German prison camp, Paul Brickhill's famous autobiography reads like anything but. Born in Australia in 1916, Brickhill joined the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, was shot down over Tunisia in 1943, captured by Germans and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III. Lead by a fellow pilot, Roger Bushell, a band of nearly two hundred prisoners plotted an escape only mad men would dream of.
    An interesting point of Brickhill's book is that it does not use him as the main character. In fact, he makes himself more of a narrator, and becomes almost separated form the story. Instead the role of protagonist is filled by Roger, and his fellow conspirator's. This, coupled with Brickhill's unique author's voice, creates an autobiography that reads more like a crime thriller.
    The Great Escape combines the greatest elements of World War II novels. Be it the tongue-in-cheek humor of manipulating their German captors or the adrenaline rushes that grip the reader when the prisoners find the secrecy of their schemes compromised, The Great Escape has it all.
    That is not to say that the book is completely free of flaws. Due to the fact that the story revolves around many characters Brickhill devotes more time than necessary to descriptions of characters that appear only once. These flaws, however, do not even come close to diminishing from the books qualities.
    The Great Escape is a tale written in blood, sweat and tears. The prisoners capture the heart of the reader, and their determination inspires all. Reading The Great Escape is like reading an episode of Hogan's Heroes. It is a tale few who read it will ever forget.

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  • Posted December 4, 2008

    The Great Escape

    The Book called The Great Escape was about many American and British air force officers in a German prison camp. With only their bare hands and the crudest of homemade tools, they sank shafts, forged passports, faked weapons, and tailored German uniforms and civilian clothes. They developed a fantastic security system to protect themselves from German surveillance. It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated devotion and vigilance of more than six hundred men--every one of them, every minute, every hour, every day and night for more than a year. During their years in the camp, the Allied air officers faced many setbacks, some of them logistical (e.g., tunnels collapsing) and others at the hands of camp guards and ¿ferrets,¿ individuals charged with foiling attempts to escape. One day one of the major holes they were depending on was sunk because one of the workers ratted out its location. That made the decision very clear, they had to make it out before the rest of the holes were found and they all paid the consequences. It was very tricky because the tunnel went from the center of the compound and they had to dig all the way past the fence and far enough the spotlight could not reach them. 77 men escaped the compound. Out of the 77, only three had successfully completed their mission. To achieve freedom once again.\

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    warning: you might die while reading

    The Great Escape is one of the greatest books ever to be published. It's also a true story. The whole book is one huge suspense so you'll be done the book in no time. The whole story makes you wonder the real capabilities of man and if you can create a master plan like the prisoners of world war 2 did. If you like classic tales that will be read for generations to come then read The Great Escape.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2008

    The Great Escape Review

    If I were to be walking through a library or a bookstore The Great Escape, by Kati Marton, wouldn¿t be a book that I would consider reading. Not really knowing what to expect, I realized that it wasn¿t as boring as I had anticipated. The Great Escape is a book that follows the lives of nine Jews and their quest to leave their hometown, Budapest. Although all these men had completely different personalities, they all had one thing in common, their desire to leave Budapest and make a name for themselves. The way Marton wrote the book facilitated the reading, because she clearly divided the book into sections each section dealing with one person at a time so the reader wouldn¿t get confused. Marton did a great job in really describing the characters and their struggles there were parts in the book where I could clearly see a vivid picture of what she wrote. All these men left their comfort zone in Budapest to flee from Hitler. With little to no money these brave Jews were strictly driven by their ambition and thirst for success. Among them were scientists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, Edward Teller, and Jon von Newman Robert Capa the memorable photographer who was the first one ashore on D-day (which ultimately lead to his death) Arthur Koestler, Andre Kertesz, and filmmakers Alexander Korda and Michael Curtiz. All these men really did change the world. Each contributed to imperative parts of history from the first H-bomb, to timeless photographs. They all were important pieces of the puzzle that helped complete what America is today. While reading the book I understood why people go through lifelong struggles to come to America the freedom and opportunities that we have are incomparable to any other country. Each of the nine individuals got to express themselves as freely as they wanted. It just comes to show that if you believe in yourself, you will achieve. All these men got their fair share of success, but the road to get to the top wasn¿t easy throughout their quest they experienced poverty, love, betrayal, war, and loneliness. One would figure that when a person reaches ultimate success they would be completely satisfied and content, but sadly that is not the case. When Korda, along with the other men, reached their ultimate success they were extremely lonely. They had nothing else to work hard for because they had already reached the top of their ladder. Once they reached the top of their ¿ladder¿ there was nowhere else to go but down, and unfortunately that¿s what happened to most of them. Due to their rapid fame, they were crushed. All of these men started to slowly deteriorate and they all passed away due to health issues or war. Although their stubbornness overpowered their sanity, they will always be remembered as men who ¿changed the world.¿

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2006

    Stalag Breaks with Not Just Any Tom, Dick, or Harry

    This is a true story, written by a man who was there, Paul Brickhill. The year is 1943, and thousands of Allied aircrews and soldiers find themselves forced as unwilling guests to endure German military hospitality. Led by Roger Bushell, hundreds of Allied officers, worked right under the Germans' noses to prepare and conduct the largest Allied POW escape during all of WWII. Though living on semi-starvation rations and locked up away from the world, these ingenious men craft tools from cans and odd bits of metal, sew suits and civilian clothes from uniforms and shoe polish, make mining equipment from bedboards and duffel bags, and create almost perfect forgeries of German IDs and travel documents. And they manage to do all this despite the very strenuous and determined efforts of their German guards to detect all this. The focal points of all this activity are the escape routes themselves - tunnels called Tom, Dick, and Harry. Rather than pinning all their hopes on a single tunnel, the prisoners start working on three tunnels simultaneously! Although they later give up their effort on two of these tunnels, their foresight later enables them to make their escape as their original tunnel was discovered and destroyed. These desperate men are playing a dangerous game as the German population and government is becoming increasingly embittered and bloodthirsty against Allied servicemen, especially aircrews that are systematically leveling German's cities. After almost a year of planning and preparing, the prisoners set the date for escape. Over 200 men are granted spots in the night's escape roster! They are dressed in their civilian clothes, carrying valid IDs and travel permits, using prisoner-mimeographed escape maps, holding plenty of Reichsmarks, and stocked with iron rations. Everything has been planned to the last detail. (How they managed to secure and/or make all this you will have to read to believe.) When they make their break, it will become the biggest manhunt in all of Nazi Germany's history! The TV show, Hogan's Heroes, is loosely based on this book with many of the personalities and ideas taken from Brickhill's book. What I enjoyed most about the book was the ingenuity and perseverance of these men to overcome such huge difficulties in organizing their unprecedented escape. The book is a breeze to read with the words flowing effortlessly across the page - I had it read in 3 - 4 days. It also has a few hand-drawn illustrations. Not just a great book, but also a true-life story of determination, dedication, and success!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2004

    The Greatest Escape ever!!!

    This book is about some prisoners of war who really wants to escape. The novel takes place in Germany. I think this book was very enjoyable and interesting. I can't believe this really happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2003

    The Best Book/ Email me if you have questions

    This was the best book ever. I am only an eleven year old but when I first saw the movie I was addicted to it. I tried to read it but I had to read too many schoolbooks. But I have finished it less than a week ago and I am already persuading my parents to give it to me for Christmas. The Great Escape is a true story of loyalty, secrecy, conspiracy, and war. Read this book and you will know the people who dug over 300 feet in the earth from the best tunnel finders in all of Europe. I will definatley read 'The Great Escape' by Paul Brickhill again very soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    Great World War Two Novel!!!

    The Great Escape is a great book about of Pow's who are attempting to escape a what the Germans call a "Un escapable" camp.There is never a dull moment in this book!!This is a true story and I can't believe that this actully happened!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2000

    This book could have been better!!

    I thought this book could have been better because it didn't go anywhere. I thought the characters were apart of the book but the storyline didn't go anywhere. I thought the use of the homemade tools and another tools were very usefull.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2000

    Try Escaping From This Tale Of Courage!

    One of the few books that is truly a hard to put down, heart-pounding thriller about real people in a real war. A good mix of humour and sober stories of the realities of life as a P.O.W. Written by one of the prisoners, this insight into the elaborate measures and improvised tools used to tunnel out of a German prison camp will hold you riveted until the last page. Better than the Hollywood depiction (which is also full of the actual events) it gives you a feel for the personalities of those brave men. Dedicated to 'The Fifty' to whom you become attached during the course of this book, you will feel part of this couragous group.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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