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Summary

In early 1942 the Germans opened a top-security prisoner-of-war camp. Called Stalag Luft III, it soon contained some of the most inventive escapers ever known. They were led by Squadron Leader Roger Bushell who masterminded an attempt to smugglehundreds of POWs down a tunnel built under the noses of their guards. The escape would come to be immortalised in the famous film The Great Escape, but in this book Guy Walters takes a fresh look at this remarkable event and asks what was the true story?

©2013 Guy Walters (P)2013 Oakhill Publishing

Critic reviews

"Walters’s description of the build-up to the breakout makes nail-biting reading" ( Guardian)

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What listeners say about The Real Great Escape

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  • Overall
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A thoroughly researched re-telling.

Any additional comments?

The story of 'The Great Escape' is well known and admired for its daring and spectacular attempt to disrupt the German forces on their home front. This book, however, asks some critical questions - not least of which is, should it have actually been attempted at all?

This incredibly well researched and detailed book looks at the central characters on both sides. Explains the similarities and differences between the commonly known accounts of the escape and the actual records pertaining to it and the individual experiences of the escapers themselves, before during and after the event.

It looks at the reasons why the 50 were shot and insights into the motivations of those who executed them.

I loved the famous all star film. I have seen documentaries and read previous accounts. Without doubt, this is a brilliant book, well balanced and a fitting story for the REAL Great Escape.

7 people found this helpful

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This Is The Great Escape

What did you like most about The Real Great Escape?

This book has had such good reviews this year and the audio book lives up to these expectations. It is so topical at this time of year when we are faced with re-runs of the 1963 film, The Great Escape on television.
The build-up to the break-out is gripping. 40 per cent of the men who emerged from the tunnel codenamed 'Harry' were non-British (they included Poles, Czechs, Australians, French and Danes) and that the three ultimately successful escapers were two Norwegians and a Dutchman.
Walters also emphasises that the escape was crucially aided by the complicity of some of the captors who provided money, maps, radio equipment and even a camera, usually in exchange for much coveted coffee, soap and cigarettes from Red Cross parcels.

Who was your favorite character and why?

In 1942, the Germans did build a high security prisoner of war camp for officers and former ‘escape artists’ called Stalag Luft III. The leader of the escape team was Squadron leader Roger Bushell.

What about Richard Burnip’s performance did you like?

The narration was done in a 'documentary' style which was entirely appropriate to the story and added credibility.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was very involved with the story. This book tells it how it really was and it is a fascinating historical novel which ‘lets slip’ some insights in to how cinema created such unreal perceptions. Such as the fact that in the prison camp, the officers were not mainly British, but were from all over Europe, mainly Poland.

Any additional comments?

This is a book which would make a great gift for dad’s and grandad’s and for everyone who is a fan of the 1963 film.

5 people found this helpful

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A must for any WW2 history buff.

A brilliant telling of the full story. Forget the film, this is definitive. Fantastic. Recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Important History

This might well be the definitive account of the 1944 Great Escape of British RAF POWs from a Nazi German prison camp - which clarifies much and dismisses many misconceptions, lies and misunderstandings. The bravery of these men must never be forgotten.

1 person found this helpful

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Love this book

This is a great book, looks at the truth as well as the myths. Well written and well narrated. So much so I have listened to it many times

1 person found this helpful

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Real Great Escape

Fantastic writing and really good to hear the story which is more aligned to the truth after having g the film of the same name in one's mind for so long

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The real story

Fascinating listen to a very different book about the Great Escape.Most of us will picture the 1960s film of the same name with Steve McQueen and other big name stars.The heroic deeds in the film are loosely based on reality but this book brings the whole adventure back to ground and analyses it very thoroughly in a very interesting way.A surprisingly excellent book with a very good performance by the narrator

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Comprehensive and interesting

If you have an interest in history (and even if you don't) this account explains by reference to the evidence what really happened in the great escape, why it happened, and its implications - but it does so without an ounce of dryness. It is a great story -tinged by the real sadness that many of the great characters discussed were murdered. Great read.

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Fascinating story

Overlays the boys own myth from the film, but describes the shocking fate of these men at the hands of the Phsycopaths running an evil Empire!

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excellent retelling and rebalancing

The Real Great Escape is a reevaluation of the famous Escape. Drawing on historical documents and eyewitness statements Guy Walters sheds new light on a legend with care and respect.

Burnip is the perfect narrator for this material.