From Peter's list on World War 2 from several different perspectives.
This is, quite simply, the greatest escape story of all time. I’ve chosen this book because I’ve read it so often, at least five times, mostly when I was a teenager. It is brilliant story-telling, and it may just be the book that most got me hooked on World War 2 history. It tells the story of a tunnel dug from under a vaulting horse in the middle of an exercise yard in a German POW camp. The original plan was for a mass escape of prisoners through the tunnel, but in the end, only three prisoners made it back to England and freedom. All brilliantly told.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
Eric Williams, Royal Air Force bomber captain, was shot down over Germany in 1942 and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, the infamous German POW camp. Digging an underground tunnel hidden beneath a wooden vaulting horse, he managed to escape after ten months and, accompanied by a fellow officer, made his way back to England. In this thinly fictionalized retelling, Williams relates his story in three distinct phases: the construction of a tunnel (its entrance camouflaged by the wooden vaulting horse in the exercise yard) and hiding the large quantities of sand he dug; the escape; and the journey on foot…