Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison” as Want to Read:
Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
While many books have been inspired by the horrors of Andersonville prison, none have chronicled with any depth or detail the amazing tunnel escape from Libby Prison in Richmond. Now Joseph Wheelan examines what became the most important escape of the Civil War from a Confederate prison, one that ultimately increased the North’s and South’s willingness to use prisoners in ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by PublicAffairs (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Libby Prison Breakout, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Libby Prison Breakout

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 131)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Robert Melnyk
Sep 04, 2013 Robert Melnyk rated it liked it
Pretty interesting story. I've read quite a bit about the Civil War, but had never heard about Libby Prison. Always interesting to learn something new. It was amazing how these prisoners managed to pull off this escape. The book dealt not only with the escape itself, and how it was accomplished, but also with the horrible treatment of the prisoners while they were at the prison. The thing that always perplexes me when I read about the outrage of prisoner abuse is the fact that they are prisoners ...more
David Schwinghammer
LIBBY PRISON BREAKOUT may remind you somewhat of the 2010 political bickering between the two major parties. The North accused the South of deliberately mistreating its prisoners; The Confederated denied it. The North refused to exchange prisoners because the 30,000 soldiers who surrendered at Vicksburg returned to action and because the Rebel prisoners were much more capable of returning to action. Confederates also refused to trade black prisoners and white officers who led them into battle.

Apr 06, 2016 Pmacke rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
i was wandering aimlessly through this book, maybe i was distracted, maybe the book lacked urgency ... until chapter 6 about Miss Van Lew; she saved lives during the Civil War and she kinda saves this book ... in a war of so many unsung, everyday heroes, Van Lew's is especially compelling ... you don't hear much about "Union" sympathizers, let alone Unionists in the Confederate capital ... her's is a story of unwavering commitment to her ideals and unwavering grit in the constant presence of the ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
I picked up this book at the library having read very little Civil War history. It was hard to believe that our country could have gone through such a horrifying war with such intense differences between North and South and still remained unified. This piece of history is about the prisoners of war taken by the Rebels in the South and placed in an old converted warehouse. It took place at a time in the war when prisoner exchanges (which were formerly common) were suspended.The South was feeling ...more
Oct 15, 2013 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Great book about something I knew absolutely nothing about. I am not a huge Civil War buff, but I do enjoy historical non-fiction. And this particular historical non-fiction book reads like fiction. It does start out a little slow with its brief discussion of Richmond's history and details of some of the key Confederate and Union players, but I think without this background, the book would be incomplete. The book starts to pick up steam fairly quickly and then starts to read like a good action/a ...more
Georgiann Baldino
Jan 13, 2014 Georgiann Baldino rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison
I give Author Joseph Wheelan credit for writing a well-balanced account. He tells a well-written story of a prison breakout but also puts the poor treatment prisoners suffered into perspective. If his other history books are as well balanced, they are worth reading. He tells us how Union prisoners suffered and also how Confederates fared and why prisoner exchanges broke down between North and South. Thanks for this well-
Feb 21, 2014 Suzanne rated it really liked it
This graphic account of man's inhumanity to man gives a disturbing look at the American Civil War. Showing that extreme brutality can be found on both sides during a civil war, Wheelan recounts the seemingly impossible story of this occurrence. Throughout the entire tale, the reader is stuck by the tenacity of the people desiring freedom and the equal fervor of those who keep them prisoner. While both sides believed they were fighting a just cause, the reader is awed by the scope and depth of th ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Libby Prison Breakout explores the conditions of prisoners of war on both sides will featuring the the Confederates Libby Prison and addresses an escape attempt from that installation. There are side stories about the war. The work is biased against the Confederates implying that there was an intentional decision to instill poor conditions in Southern facilities.
Mar 13, 2015 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: school, civil-war
The first half of this book prevented my rating from being higher, because his account of the escape and its prep was riveting
Sep 12, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
Read this book after seeing it in the 'new books' section of the library. Living in Northern VA and having family in Richmond, I thought it would be interesting. The book sort of meandered through various stories about the daily lives and struggles of the Union prisoners at Libby, but didn't tell much of a consistent story. I enjoyed reading about the times, and the larger struggles with prisoners (both sides) during the Civil War, but found this book a little hard to get through.
Jan 07, 2014 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Easy read and interesting to learn about this aspect of the Civil War. It is about the amazing feat...digging 4 tunnels before one two months! The bigger story is that this was the last war of prisoner exchanges, and the beginning of 'total war', where the on-again-off-again prisoner exchange was kept at 'off' by the North to avoid returning healthy captives that would fight for the South again, prolonging the war.
Jul 06, 2010 Kfdowner rated it really liked it
A gift from Karen. Not something I would have picked on my own, but it was very good. Tells the story behind the Libby prison breakout during the civil war. Makes me want to revisit Richmond VA. Amazing how much punishment humans can give and endure.
Jul 04, 2010 Tanya rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting - what horrors men must have experienced to drive them to burrow fifty feet through the dark earth... This book showed the treatment of POW's as an indicator of the new era of "total war."
Oct 04, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
What awful conditions they "lived" under. It's amazing that any of them lived through that. I don't know how they got the energy to dig a tunnel and then get to safety (in winter).
Mark Goodwin
Feb 19, 2015 Mark Goodwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-books
Easy to read and quite interesting. If you are interested in this part of US history, you should not pass on this one.
Irene Grysiewicz
Aug 09, 2016 Irene Grysiewicz rated it really liked it
informative, well-researched; epilogue packs a punch! only complaint--could have used more diagrams and maps.
Mar 14, 2011 Kcastro marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Very interesting. I stopped on page 143. Will finish later.
Michael marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2016
Wm C
Wm C rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2016
Heather marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2016
Jason marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
Donald Forster
Donald Forster marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2016
Wes rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2016
Literary Chic
Literary Chic is currently reading it
Oct 19, 2016
Christine marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
Tiff marked it as to-read
May 22, 2016
Gary Plamondon
Gary Plamondon marked it as to-read
May 21, 2016
Steve marked it as to-read
May 11, 2016
Hannah rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2016
Raul rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book