The Last Escape: The Untold Story of Allied Prisoners of War in Europe 1944-45

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9780142004470: The Last Escape: The Untold Story of Allied Prisoners of War in Europe 1944-45

As World War II approached its end, thousands of American and British soldiers languished in German POW camps. With the Russian Red Army closing in from the east and Allied troops advancing from the west, Hitler forced the POWs deeper into the heart of Germany. Over the next several months these prisoners were forced to walk more than 500 miles through the severest of winter conditions, and hundreds died from exhaustion, disease, and starvation. Here—for the first time—interviews with the POWs who survived as well as their diaries and letters bring this astonishing tale of endurance and courage to life.

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About the Author:

John Nichol is a journalist and widely quoted military commentator, as well as a former RAF flight lieutenant who became a POW during the first Gulf War. He is coauthor of the bestselling Tornado Down and the author of five novels.
Tony Rennell is the author of Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria and coauthor of When Daddy Came Home. Now a freelance writer, he was formerly associate editor of the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday.

From Publishers Weekly:

The author of Tornado Down, former RAF Flight Lt. Nichol was a Gulf War POW, while Last Days of Glory author Rennell is the former associate editor of the London Sunday Times. They cleverly weave WWII policy decisions dealing with POWs with firsthand accounts of POWs inside prison camps in Europe and during the forced evacuation marches many endured during the last months of the war. As the Russians advanced in summer 1944, POWs were crammed into boxcars (and, later, ships), attacked by guards in retaliation for Allied bombing of Germany and sent on extensive forced marches, described here in horrifying detail. As the war ended, some Red Cross relief convoys got through, but General Patton failed in an attempt to liberate a POW camp holding his son-in-law behind German lines. The reluctance of Russians to return liberated British and American POWs to the West was balanced by the issue of forced repatriation of former Soviet POWs who didn't want to return to the Stalinist state. Nichol and Rennell offer anecdotal evidence that some POWs were killed by the SS, and retribution by prisoners against brutal guards also occurred. In the postwar lives of a few POWs featured, incarceration took a physical and psychological toll. While offering little in the way of new information, and failing to cover fully the complete spectrum of prison camps and prisoner nationalities, the authors provide a compelling account of the ways, means and effects of mass imprisonment during the last terrible century.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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