The Great Escape (Anglais) Broché – 2 novembre 2000
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Description du produit
Présentation de l'éditeur
The famous story of mass escape from a WWII German PoW camp that inspired the classic film.
One of the most famous true stories from the last war, The GREAT ESCAPE tells how more than six hundred men in a German prisoner-of-war camp worked together to achieve an extraordinary break-out. Every night for a year they dug tunnels, and those who weren't digging forged passports, drew maps, faked weapons and tailored German uniforms and civilian clothes to wear once they had escaped. All of this was conducted under the very noses of their prison guards. When the right night came, the actual escape itself was timed to the split second - but of course, not everything went according to plan...
Quatrième de couverture
One of the most jaw-dropping accounts you will ever read: it truly puts fiction to shame.
This is the compelling true story of how more than six hundred men in a German prisoner-of-war camp came together to achieve an extraordinary break-out. With only bare hands and the crudest of tools they dug tunnels, forged passports, faked weapons and tailored German uniforms to wear once they had escaped. The operation was as delicate and as deadly as a ticking bomb and was conducted under the noses of the increasingly suspicious guards. It demanded absolute commitment and nerves of steel from every man, every minute, every hour, every day for more than a year.
When the night came, the actual escape itself was timed to the split second - but of course, not everything went according to plan...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Although all three were made into movies, THE GREAT ESCAPE is by far the most well known, basically due to the fact that it received the "full Hollywwod treatment" (for better or for worse), in the film of the same name released in 1963. And also, of course, because of the sheer atrocity committed by the Nazis against the fugitives.
Brickhill is a fact teller. You will not find much about specific characters, deep emotions, despair or whatever. It's basically a description about what the almost 600 hundred people involved in any manner with the escape attempt worked. There were the "stooges" (security), the forgers, the compass makers, the tailors, the planners, the bribers, of course, the diggers!
The book goes all the way until the day of the escape, which was doomed since the beginning: terrifying cold outside; not being capable to find the railway access to buy train tickets, in the night; the exit hole being outside the forest surrounding the camp; frozen ground delaying the opening of the exiting hole by one hour and a half; some sand falls in the tunnel...
The result is that Roger Bushell (the master planner) and other leaders (Group Captain Massey, Wings Day) knew before hand that almost everybody would get caught, mainly the 'hardarsers" (people that eould try to escape by foot and that did not speak German). Their main aim was simply to act according to the officers code, trying to escape and harrassing the enemy anyway they could.
The trouble is that, even in their worst dreams, the fugitives never thought they were going to be shot. Maybe Roger Bushell knew he COULD be executed, but all the others don't. Roger was such a Tasmanian devil, that the Germans had had enough. He was considered almost a saboteur. Caught in civilian clothes trying to escape, it was all they needed to shot him.
Only three men managed to escape: two Norwegian flghter pilots made the ultimate perfect escape, and in a couple dyas were already in England. The other man took longer, going through Spain, and reached England intact.
Then, the book goes about the hunt for the executioners, vile Gestapo men most of them. Mostly, it was not the case of "receiving orders". Most of them received the orders and did the killings wih gusto. "Heroically" shooting people in the back of the dead.... Fifteen men were executed in 1948. Other men were found guilty in later years, but their death sentences were comuted to life imprisonment. Hard feelings were already going low...
As for the movie, it is what is: Hollywood. A classic, yes, but once you read the book, you will get a little bit angry about the movie. Firts: there were no Americans amongst the 76 fugitives (and the movie inlcude two main American characters, McQueen and James Garner); there were no runaways with motorcycle or planes (two of the most important moments of the movie); the 50 men executed were not shot at once, in the same place (it was in pairs or four at the most, in different places); there is no German character other than the commandat, and in the book there are at least two strong German guards (Rubberneck, for example). However, I understand they had to create dialogues and and composite characters, because, other than Roger Bushell's single mindedness, Brickhill gives the reader almost nothing in terms of character traits.
A very good book, deservedly placed among the classics of World War II literature.
Anyway, this is supposed to be about the book. It isn't that big, it probably never won any awards for great writing style, but what it does do is tell the story clearly and succinctly the series of events surrounding the conception, planning and execution of the escape as well as the aftermath. The book fills in a lot more details left out of the movie, such as the document forgeries and tunnel construction, as well as tunnel collapses. It also goes into the personal details of the people involved. Basically, it accomplishes what it set out to do: relate the story of a group of people who, even though they were imprisoned, continued to fight the war despite the consequences.
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