The Great Escape

  • by Paul Brickhill
  • Narrated by Robert Whitfield
  • 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated devotion and vigilance of more than six hundred men for every hour, every day, and every night for more than a year. With only their bare hands and crude homemade tools, they sank shafts, built underground railroads, forged passports, drew maps, faked weapons, and tailored German clothes. They developed a fantastic security system to protect themselves from the Germans who tenaciously prowled the compounds. And against all odds, they pulled off a daring mass escape from a German POW camp.


What the Critics Say

"The timing, cadence, vocal quality, and even melody of Whitfield's reading add to the suspense." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating and exciting!!

Any additional comments?

Absolutely terrific read that fired my imagination and sent me running to YouTube to find interviews with the POWs that were there. Amazing to know that the technical aspects of the dig as portrayed in the film were 100% true. The book provides even more jaw dropping details and wily tricks not covered in the film. Wonderful!! Get it! You won't be sorry!

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- 6catz "I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday."

A testament to ingenuity and perseverence

This is not an exciting thriller written with edge-of-your-seat action, but it is a wonderful and fascinating look at the resourcefulness, ingenuity, and sense of duty of a group of primarily British officers held in a German POW camp. I was amazed at how resourceful the men were at not just using the items they had at hand (blankets, bedboards, empty tins) but at creating rather complicated equipment from scratch (compasses, duplicating machines). To think that they used smuggled jelly candies to make the straight unsweetened gelatin needed to make a Hectograph for printing passes and documents just astounds me.

Also clear in the book is something which is not appreciated by many - that the escape plan was not done solely (or even primarily) to get home, but rather as a duty to tie up German resources that could otherwise be spent on fighting. Trying to escape was a prisoner's duty, not just a personal drive for freedom. Many of the men involved knew they were extremely unlikely to make it home - and only 3 did successfully escape; the other 73 were recaptured, and 50 of those were illegally executed by the Gestapo.

Not all the men who escaped were British - some were officers in the Polish, South African, New Zealand, Canadian, and Australian forces. The American officers were held in another camp and not part of the escape (in spite of what's portrayed in the movie). The author was one of the many prisoners who helped with the planning and creation of the tunnels and equipment, though he did not actually do any tunneling and was not one of the escapees.
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- Calliope

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-19-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.