The Longest Tunnel: The True Story of World War II's Great Escape
by Alan Burgess
This is the real story behind "The Great Escape" of World War II popularized in the now-classic movie starring Steve McQueen and James Garner. First ... Show synopsis This is the real story behind "The Great Escape" of World War II popularized in the now-classic movie starring Steve McQueen and James Garner. First published in 1990 and based on sources not available for Paul Brickhill's earlier work, the book tells how on the night of March 24, 1944, seventy-six Allied POWs slid through a 350-foot tunnel and out of a high-security German prison camp, into history. Within days, on Hitler's orders, fifty had been shot by the Gestapo and twenty-three captured and returned to the camp. Only three men escaped to the Allied lines. The true details of their harrowing story--and the subsequent efforts of their comrades to bring the Gestapo killers to justice--are even more thrilling and fascinating than those fictionalized in the film. The author, a former RAF flyer, not only knows his subject but knows how to shape an enthralling narrative. He describes how the flyers and aircrews dug three tunnels by hand, became master forgers of passports and travel documents, brilliant creators of civilian disguise, and made working compasses from discarded razor blades. His story of the postwar manhunt for the Nazis who murdered the flyers is nearly as dramatic as the escape itself.