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Summary

Colditz - the dreaded POW camp was supposed to be impregnable. It was the German fortress from which there was no escape. It had been escape-proof in the 1914-18 war and was to be again in the Second World War, according to the Germans... This is the true story that has passed into legend: the story of the incredible courage and daredevil ingenuity of those who refused to admit defeat - those who burrowed, leapt and ran their way to freedom. It is the story of the finest escapers of World War Two, culminating in the author’s own dramatic escape in 1942.

©2001 P.R. Reid (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • J
  • 07-07-14

A Great Escape From Life!

Fantastic, plain and simple. Having read the original book numerous times I was slightly sceptical whether I would enjoy this audiobook. I need not have worried as the audio helped bring the experience to life. I normally only listen to my audiobooks when driving but with this book I found myself sitting in the car even when my journey had finished just to hear the next little bit!

Amazing book and flawlessly narrated a must have for anyone with an interest in military history or real life stories. Having visited Colditz myself the visit only added to how much I enjoyed this audio and i cannot recommend enough for people to take that pilgrimage like I did.

12 people found this helpful

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Ordinary men in an extraordinary situation

Having grown up in the late 60s and early 70s, I have memories of British TV (especially Sunday Afternoons!) having a lot of old War films and TV shows on, including The Colditz Story (the film), and Colditz (BBC TV). What we have here is the real story, told by one of the men who were incarcerated there. I've been listening to this over the last couple of weeks on my commute, and I flick between amazement at the schemes and inventiveness of these men, amusement at some of the "Goon-baiting" they got up to , and sheer admiration of the men who were PoWs during the second World War. This is an enthralling book, and I really hope that we can have the follow-up book soon.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

The Classic old war story

This is one of the classic stories from the war. Written by one of the former prisoners the writing style is not the easiest to follow with huge amounts of information being delivered at rapid pace. The detail is extraordinary. The story has been told in film and TV series and remains one of the greats. This is only the first half of the story. The second book the “Later days on Colditz “is not yet available here but would a good addition if available. The recording has a dated feel about it but that maybe because I knew much of the story anyway. If you don’t know the story and you like stiff upper lip British stuff with school boy humour you’ll love this.

7 people found this helpful

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Why Poles Were at Colditz

Many will be surprised that the large contingent of Poles at Colditz. This is not because they were parts of mass breakouts – but rather because they were political prisoners. To understand the situation at Colditz, a quick historical recap is needed regarding Polish-Nazi German history. Between 1917-1920 a right-wing Poland opposed the Socialism (following the dictates of the Catholic Church) of the 1917 Russian Revolution – with Lenin granting Poland ‘Independence’ in 1920. Italian fascism was popular in Poland between 1922 (and the rise of Mussolini) and 1930 and the election of an openly ‘fascist’ government in Poland (following the 1929 ‘Lateran Treaty’ which saw Mussolini granting the Vatican City ‘Independence’ and ‘Sovereignty’ from Italy). Hitler’s coming to power in 1933 is celebrated throughout Poland – with Joseph Goebbels receiving a state visit in early 1934. This led to a Concentration Camp being constructed and opened in late 1934 at Bereza in Eastern Poland. This was intended for use to corral and eradicate the Russian population in that area. In 1938, Polish troops triumphantly enter the Czech Republic alongside Nazi German troops! During 1939, Hitler betrays Poland and militarily annexes Western Poland (with Eastern Poland returning to the Russia it was separated from in the 1920 ‘Independence’ settlement. History today tends to omit all of this pre-1939 history of a ‘fascist’ Poland. This is why the author of this book talks of a number Polish prisoners held in Colditz as being ‘untrustworthy’ - as the relationship between the Poles and the Nazi Germans had been very good prior to 1939.

5 people found this helpful

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Riveting and compelling

A fantastic glimpse into history that brings the stories to life. Gripping and immersive. My hats off to the hero’s of the allied forces.

2 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable and nicely read.

A classic account written just after the events. Very nicely read. I'm looking forwa4d to the next installment, The Latter Days at Colditz that I've just bought.

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Truly a classic tale of triumph over enormous odds

I listened to this story over a number of nights and lost a lot of sleep. Just one more chapter..... It is the story of a P. O. W ca. P during the first half of WW2. It is a great book about ordinary men doing extraordinary things. As it ends with the story of the authors own escape to freedom I, therefore, have to listen to what amounts to part 2 of the story. The Latter Days at Colditz is my next listen. I can hardly wait to start.

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Top rank

what a book! exellant narration too.
Can strongly reccomend for WW2 personal account buffs.
A shame it is not longer.

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loved it will read more

it's a really good hook. really funny at times. makes you feel lucky and happy to British.

1 person found this helpful

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They will never be forgotten

The courage and tenacity, and extraordinary bravery of the allied pows was incredible. A great story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Phill Coxon
  • 23-07-12

Enthralling and exciting

Would you listen to The Colditz Story again? Why?

Yes, I would definitely listen to it again.

I read the book when I was a teenager and was just as enthralled as I was listening to the audio version.

This is a story about the human spirit under pressure and what is possible in a seemingly impossible situation.

There are lessons here for those of us who have never experienced war or oppression. No matter how hard we may think our lives are it is nothing compared to others around the world imprisoned or detained against their will.

Yet even under the worst of circumstances incredible feats can be achieved.

Reading the true stories of escapes from Colditz - the most impregnable and escape proof prisoner of war camp in World War II, Germany - is both nail biting and mind blowing.

The Colditz Story covers many seemingly impossible achievements - lock picking "unlockable" doors, building tunnels, hidden trapdoors, forging documents, making german uniforms from scraps around the POW camp and more.

The story is full of humour, surprise, tension and astonishment along with some sad sections when things don't go well.

When I hear about prisoners esaping from prison on the news I always think about this book. When someone has nothing to do but think about escaping 24 hours a day it is incredible what crazy, hair-brained and absolutely genius methods are dreamed up.

Overall it's an amazing story that in many ways reads like fiction and yet is 100% true.

I highly recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 22-09-12

One of the best in the genre

Author has a great sense of humor. The stories from Colditz are funny despite those killed and injured. This is serious and I appreciate the levity he brings to the story. The narrator is perfect, His reading and accent so add to the flavor of the story. Loved the Gestapo being outwhitted by the prisoners. Puts the lie to the myths about German efficiency.

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  • Doug D. Eigsti
  • 19-11-14

.....Stalag 17 Has Nothing on Colditz .....

If you like stories about the indomitable spirit of man then this should be required listening. Here Reid tells us his personal stories of escape from the Germans from two different prisons. And along the way he relates the many, many, other escape attempts being conducted in Colditz castle. You will be amazed at the ingenuity of the prisoners in their efforts to undermine the vigilance of the German captors. This is a great adventure and one told with the practiced skill of one who knows how to tell a story.

Don’t miss the sequel: THE LATTER DAYS OF COLDITZ by Paul Reid

Tim Woodward does accents—British, Dutch, Polish, French and especially German—perfectly. He is so entertaining that I will be seeking out more of his work. When he is speaking German so fluent is he that he sounds like a native German speaker. It is a real joy to listen to such a masterful performance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shad
  • 15-05-12

absolutly brilliant

Incredible, it was like i was there in the castle itself. a real adrenaline rush with the escapes and also very informative on so many other escape strategies. A true game of cat and mouse. I loved it

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  • daryl showalter
  • 10-09-20

Great book!

Great book great story and amazing narration I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good book!

But, audible app doesn’t work well at all on Apple Watch! And don’t work very well on phone!

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  • James
  • 22-06-20

Excellent story and narrating.

Something I listened to on my daily commute, was not long till I would look forward to the drive to or from work.

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  • Steve Dalby
  • 15-03-20

Good old memory for the book I read 30 years ago

We can never imagine what life was like as a prisoner of war. But this book comes close to giving you a picture of the bravery...

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  • Andrew
  • 16-07-15

Great Story! Love it!

I like the way the author opened up a whole new level of history to me. I've read a lot about WWII, but this just adds the finishing touch. I think I can say I am now addicted to POW and escape stories.

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  • Phe-Phe
  • 22-03-15

Awesome narration

Very interesting story told with one of the best narrator ever. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. You won't regret it

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  • amy
  • 13-10-14

AWESOME STORY, GOOD READER

Where does The Colditz Story rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

pretty close to the top! The narrator could do with a lot more tone and expression though.