I saw Ben Macintyre present this book at Hay festival last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Having heard a lot about it however, I thought I’d delay reading it so it was a bit more fresh. I needn’t have worried as there is so much detail and wonder in this book that his talk on it barely touched the surface. 

I often wonder about how many incredible untold stories that there surely must be surrounding the events of the second world war. Macintyre has already proven himself an expert on sifting out the best ones and creating hugely enjoyable and assured accounts of them. It seems odd that this sort of Macintyre-esque account of Colditz has not happened before. Thankfully it’s the man himself who has tackled it and it just gets more and more interesting as it goes along. Just when you think you’ve heard it all – crazy escape attempts, class clashes between prisoners and guards alike and even the building of an escape glider right under the Germans’ noses – it shifts to the end of the war and the logistics of getting out unharmed by the SS and Gestapo who start descending like flies as their war is falling away from them. 

Can’t recommend this enough. Plus, with the last Colditz film being made before, as far as I’m aware, I was born, I’ll be blown away if there isn’t another film before long.

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