The Great Escape

The Great Escape

A Canadian Story

Book - 2013
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A unique retelling of WWII's most dramatic escape, told through first-hand recollections of the soldiers who experienced it.

On the night of March 24, 1944, 80 Commonwealth airmen crawled through a 336-foot-long tunnel and slipped into the forest beyond the wire of Stalag Luft III, a German POW compound near Sagan, Poland. The event became known as &8220;The Great Escape,&8220; an intricate breakout more than a year in the making, involving as many as 2,000 POWs working with extraordinary coordination, intelligence, and daring. Yet within a few days, all but three of the escapees were recaptured. Subsequently, 50 were murdered, cremated, and buried in a remote corner of the prison camp.

But most don't know the real story behind The Great Escape. Now, on the eve of its 70th anniversary, Ted Barris writes of the key players in the escape attempt, those who got away, those who didn't, and their families at home.

Barris marshals groundbreaking research into a compelling firsthand account. For the first time, The Great Escape retells one of the most astonishing episodes in WWII directly through the eyes of those who experienced it.

Joint Winner of the Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2014

Globe and Mail Bestseller

Toronto Star Bestseller

Publisher: Toronto : Thomas Allen Publishers, 2013.
ISBN: 9781771022729
Branch Call Number: 940.5472430922 Bar
Characteristics: xv, 288 pages : illustrations, map


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Nov 11, 2013

The author had a lively conversation with Michael Enright, the host of the CBC Radio program "The Sunday Edition" on Sunday, November 10, 2013. The interview may be heard by going to this program's web site and following the links to the podcast for this date. This is a factual, journalistic account of the persistent efforts of Commonwealth air force prisoners-of-war to escape in order to draw the enemy's combat resources away from front lines and with the hope of a successful return to one's homeland. Barris talked and corresponded with some of the service men to add and confirm details. He carries the story forward to the present to document the impact of POW life and escape work on the physical and mental health of the service men and the spillover effect on their families. A small bibliography is provided in the 'Acknowledgements' on page xiv. Barris' account is illustrated by about 25 black and white photographs; and a map and cross-section plan on the end papers. The text is supported by end notes and an index.

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