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Kingsley Brown.
Toronto, ON: Collins, 1989.
267pp., cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-00215972-4. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Stalag Luft 3 (€ZagaŽn, Poland : Concentration camp).
World War, 1939-1945-Prisoners and prisons, German.
Prisoners of war-Canada-Biography.

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up

Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

On July 3, 1942, RCAF Bomber Pilot Kingsley Brown was shot down over Holland, and so began what would prove to be a three-year incarceration in the most famous of all German prisoner of war camps, Stalag Luft 3, from which the Great Escape was launched.

Brown recalls the years spent behind barbed wire with amazing good humour and generosity. Acknowledging that his experiences as a prisoner of the privileged officer class were atypical, he describes his contacts with the enemy, both in and out of uniform, as civilized, even friendly. His captors made sure he travelled first class "as an officer should," enabled him to hear the King's Christmas broadcast against official orders and at some risk, and interrupted his post-escape close confinement to give him a birthday party!

All this should not suggest that captivity was a painless interlude. Many of Brown's friends died in the reprisals that followed the Great Escape, food was always scarce and supplies uncertain, the bedbugs were so vicious that a spell in the cement "cooler" seemed a pleasant retreat away from their company, and some of what should have been the most precious years of his life trickled away, but Brown, a long-time journalist, brings the story-telling skill of a born raconteur to his wonderful account of a special, unique time in the history of men at war. Not to be missed, both for its own sake and for studies of World War II.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.
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