Press Release: The Great Escape
The Great Escape
With original preface by George Harsh
‘The high-water mark of all active prisoner-of-war books . . .
I found myself putting it down almost literally to get
my breath back’
In 1943, 600 disparate Allied POWs in the notorious Stalag Luft III prison
camp, plotted an escape unprecedented in its scale and daring. Led by
the formidable Squadron Leader Roger Bushell – or ‘Big X’ as he was known on the escape committee – the plan involved the digging of three tunnels (‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’) and the disposal of over 100 tonnes of yellow sand, all under the noses of the German ‘ferrets’, or guards.
The tunnels were lit with electric lighting stolen from the goons, shored up with boards from their own beds, traversed on an underground railway and ventilated with home-made bellows crafted from wood, canvas bags and bully-beef tins. But escape was only the beginning: 400 forged passes would be needed, some 200 suits of clothes tailored, maps memorised and languages learnt. If all went well, a staggering 200 prisoners would be freed in the largest British-led breakout of the Second World War.
This enduring tale of heroism is told by one of the men who lived it. Paul Brickhill, having been shot down in a Spitfire over Tunisia in 1943,
was himself a member of the escape committee and boss of a gang of ‘stooges’
that protected the forgers while they worked in the camp. Modestly, he describes himself as merely ‘a cog in the machine’, but this was a machine with 600 human cogs that proved ‘that even in death man can triumph over any obstacle’.
This edition from The Folio Society is illustrated with newly researched
photographs from the National Archives and the
Imperial War Museum, along with original colour sketches by fellow-prisoner Ley Kenyon, who also provides integrated images and pictorial endpapers.
It is designed in series with our bestselling The Dam Busters, and features a binding by the same artist.
Three-quarter-bound in cloth, blocked with a design by Richard Sweeney.
Set in Joanna with Gill Sans display. 248 pages. Frontispiece and 16 pages of colour and black & white plates.
5 integrated images. Printed endpapers. 9½˝ x 6 ¼˝.
UK £36.95 US $64.95 Can $79.95 Aus $79.95
For media enquiries please contact
UK & ROW Nicola Handley, Cherish PR
020 8735 4245, firstname.lastname@example.org
US & Canada
Cathleen P. Williamson (617) 435-5505, CathleenPW@gmail.com