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Under The Wire

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Determined to take on the Nazis, Texan Bill Ash joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939 and in so doing sacrificed his citizenship. Before long, he was sent to England wherehe flew Spitfires. Shot down over France in March 1942, he survived the crash-landing and, thanks to local civilians, evaded capture for months only to be betrayed to the Gestapo in Paris. Tortured ...more
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Published June 5th 2006 by Bantam (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Elizabeth
Jan 28, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-memoir
I approached this book as a courtesy to the author, whose service in World War II deserved, in my opinion, some attention. What a marvelous surprise and delight to find it an entirely engrossing, well-told story of several slices of American History, some of which are not often told.

While the main story chronicles Bill Ash's experience flying Spitfire fighter planes for the RAF, his day of reckoning when he was shot down, and his remarkable experiences hiding from the Nazis in occupied Europe,
...more
Dale
Jan 21, 2013 Dale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that this will be the third posting of the year for me, this was actually the first book that I read in 2013 and it may very well be the best book that I will read all year.

William Ash, now age 95, and his co-author Brendan Foley have created an immensely readable, very enjoyable story about young Bill Ash, an American who joined the Brits in fighting the Nazis by flying a Spitfire (a fighter plane) before America even joined the war.

Ash begins his story by telling about the dif
...more
Jenny T
Apr 09, 2009 Jenny T rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009, memoir
An amazing memoir about a "serial escapologist" from German POW camps during WWII--Bill Ash escaped a dozen times from terrible conditions and tragic experiences, yet maintained his compassion, humor, and humanity. Beautifully written and full of hope in times of despair.
Ian B
Jan 20, 2013 Ian B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb book about a real life Steve McQueen during World War II. I was lucky enough to be sent a signed copy from the great Mr Ash himself after writing to the co-author after reading this great book. A classic of the genre.
Grady
Dec 16, 2012 Grady rated it it was amazing
A Brilliant Book again demonstrating that Fact is stranger than Fiction

At the time of this writing William Ash is 95: his story is told with the gifted aid of Brendan Foley who just happens to be writing the screenplay for the film that has been option that will make this incredible story a thriller of film.
From the advanced information about the release of this book comes the following information that in many ways summarizes the book well: ‘Born in Dallas in 1917, WILLIAM ASH worked his way th
...more
Jim
Jan 17, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
World War II has always been one of my favorite reading topics, probably because I was born just a few months after the war ended. I've read hundreds of books about the war, and some of the most compelling stories were about Allied POW experiences. Books like Free as a Running Fox and The Colditz Story showed just how determined many POWs were to escape. When co-author Brendan Foley offered me a review copy of Under the Wire, I was glad to accept.

It's the remarkable story of American Bill Ash, w
...more
Michael Emond
Feb 11, 2013 Michael Emond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am trying to recall how I stumbled on this non-fiction book – I just did a quick search of www.newsfromme.com and verified Mark Evanier recommended it. It took me three weeks to get through it but I am very happy I did. It takes a while for me to get through a book like this because it is a time in history that is so depressing for me. How an entire country like Germany could go insane and decide to slaughter half the population and take over by force the other half is sad, frustrating, and ch ...more
Christopher Nye
Mar 25, 2013 Christopher Nye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect to like this book, but I did.
It details the Second World war experiences of a Texan, born in 1917, who joined the Royal Air Force in 1940 and flew Spitfires before being shot down in 1942 and becoming an inveterate escaper from POW camps.
Because of his nationality, frequent long spells in solitary confinement following escape attempts, and close friendship with several of the Great Escape escapers he has been offered as a possible model for the Steve MacQueen character in the f
...more
Nicole Marble
Jun 19, 2014 Nicole Marble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting WWII story by Ash, an excellent writer. Of more interest to me is that time at the end of the war when there was no law, no one was in charge, there was no infrastructure, no food distribution system in place and all the people in Europe - soldiers, farmers, prisoners, children, the wounded - had to survive. I think we should pay more attention to that period of no law to see what people have done and can do.
Terri
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, wwii
"My career choices were limited- I could become a prisoner, an escape artist or a corpse."

William Ash went half way across the world to fight against the Nazis when his country, the United States was still neutral. He just could not sit at home knowing the a just war was being fought and do nothing. His first attempt to join the Canadian military was a failure. He was too skinny. He went back across the border, gorged himself for a week and weighed in with success. "The fact that so many of us A
...more
Frank
Mar 02, 2017 Frank rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
i enjoyed parts of it, but started to worry it contained lies when he said he flew under the Severn Bridge - which didn't exist at that time, and there was no possible nearby substitute he could have mistaken for it and flown under... fewer bridges all told
Don
May 20, 2014 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in World War Two
I’ve read a number of books about the life of Allied prisoners of war and their escape attempts but had somehow never heard of Under the Wire by William Ash and Brendan Foley until I read Mr. Ash’s obituary in The Week earlier this month. I’m so glad I found this book!

Ash’s story of growing up in depression era Texas, living the life of a hobo and then moving to Canada to enlist in the RAF, for which he would lose his American citizenship, is as interesting as is his later adventures as Spitfire
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 21, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-memoir
I approached this book as a courtesy to the author, whose service in World War II deserved, in my opinion, some attention. What a marvelous surprise and delight to find it an entirely engrossing, well-told story of several slices of American History, some of which are not often told.

While the main story chronicles Bill Ash's experience flying Spitfire fighter planes for the RAF, his day of reckoning when he was shot down, and his remarkable experiences hiding from the Nazis in occupied Europe, a
...more
Harry
Jul 24, 2014 Harry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is a story that follows the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. If someone had written this book as a fictional account of World War Two, I would not believed half of it. William Ash, along with Brendan Foley, tells the astonishing story of a native Texan (Ash) who moves to Canada to escape the Great Depression, joins the Royal Canadian Air Force before America enters the war, is shot down over France, and spends the next three years in German prison camps where he tries to escap ...more
Linda
Mar 23, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love history and I loved this book. There were some proofreading issues that need to be addressed, but I loved hearing about the amazing survival stories and heroes of the war. I also learned a great deal that I did not know before, especially about the Russian prisoners of war and how horrifically they were treated during the war. Amazing story of survival!
Dona
Mar 29, 2014 Dona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book - interesting how things worked in a German POW camp. Some of the action reminded me of Hogan's Heroes TV show. Interesting read
Adam Morris
Good story. Not well written.
Michael Grant
Enjoyed it. Great true story. Well worth a read.
Marc Stevens
Jan 05, 2010 Marc Stevens rated it it was amazing
A fabulous true story of heroism and persistence by one of the most active POW escapers of WW2
Jack
Sep 24, 2008 Jack rated it really liked it
very good
Andy Anderson
May 15, 2016 Andy Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bill Ash was an amazing man. He didn't like to stay in prison as a POW, so he made several escapes only to be caught and spend time in solitary for doing so. Easy to read and very engaging.
John Hennessy
John Hennessy rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2017
Stefan Glosby
Stefan Glosby rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2014
Kelly Hild
Kelly Hild rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2013
Steve
Steve rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2011
Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wilson rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2010
Fred White
Fred White rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2017
Paul Moss
Paul Moss rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2013
Shaun
Shaun rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2016
Adam
Adam rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2014
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Born in Dallas in 1917, WILLIAM ASH worked his way through school and college during the Great Depression, graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, to the heights of elevator operator, then Hobo.

At the outbreak of war in Europe he rode the rails to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. A Spitfire pilot, he saw action over England and France. He was shot down near C
...more
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