The Best POW Escape Books Of World War 2

The Books I Picked & Why

Moonless Night: Wartime Diary of a Great Escaper

By B.A. 'Jimmy' James

Moonless Night: Wartime Diary of a Great Escaper

Why this book?

This is the autobiography of the man I consider the most determined escaper of WW2. Jimmy James was a serial escaper. One of the 76 men who broke out of Stalag Luft 3 in The Great Escape, he was recaptured and was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.  Using a spoon, he dug a tunnel and escaped from there!  This is one of the bravest stories I've ever read of determination to succeed at any cost.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

A Gallant Company: The Men of the Great Escape

By Jonathan Franklin William Vance

A Gallant Company: The Men of the Great Escape

Why this book?

While Paul Brickhill's book was written by someone who was actually there during the escape, it is incomplete by necessity, since Brickhill was not himself privy to all of the secrets behind the scenes.  Professor Vance's book required a great deal of painstaking research to uncover the whole story of this most famous escape of World War 2. Brickhill's book gives the basics, Vance's gives every last minute detail.



When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Under the Wire: The Wartime Memoir of a Spitfire Pilot, Legendary Escape Artist and "Cooler King"

By William Ash, Brendan Foley

Under the Wire: The Wartime Memoir of a Spitfire Pilot, Legendary Escape Artist and "Cooler King"

Why this book?

One of the great "characters" of World War 2 escapes, "Tex" Ash was an American who travelled from his home state to Canada in order to enlist in the RCAF and fight the Nazis before the US entered the war.  A Spitfire pilot of great bravery, Ash was shot down and captured in France. His tale of wild and woolly escapes and escapades makes for a rollicking good read. Some might say that his story is too far-fetched to be true; I believe every word of it.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Free As a Running Fox

By T.D. Calnan

Free As a Running Fox

Why this book?

Tommy Calnan was as brave as they come.  Flying an unarmed Spitfire of the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, Calnan's plane was hit by flak and set afire.  He bailed out, but was badly burned in the process. Barely surviving his wounds, including third-degree burns to his face and hands, Calnan spent several months recovering in a German hospital. One might think that he had done enough for the Allied cause, but despite his face being badly scarred, Calnan became a serial escaper of great courage and determination.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Camera Became My Passport Home

By Ben van Drogenbroek, Steve Martin, Charles Boyd Woehrle

The Camera Became My Passport Home

Why this book?

Not strictly speaking just an escape book, this is a highly personal memoir of one American prisoner at Stalag Luft 3. But it also includes much previously unpublished material about The Great Escape and the various participants, including many who never got near the tunnel. A work that encompasses some 30-40 years of research, it includes many private photographs of people and memorabilia that cannot be found in any other source. A great deal of the material came from the POWs themselves, mostly through private correspondence with the authors.

You can only buy this book directly from the author.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists