Ann's Reviews > Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison

Libby Prison Breakout by Joseph Wheelan
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's review
Mar 01, 2012

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 the pinch of the North's tightening stranglehold on their supply lines and thus were becoming more and more desperate for basic necessities of food to feed their own people and troops. The war prisoners were therefore left with the dregs of what was left meaning they subsisted on scraps of cornbread and nearly inedible soup filled with bugs. The sanitary conditions along with the starvation rations and the intense hatred of the Southerners for the Northern Yankees left the POW's in dire circumstances.Care packages sent from the North and even Red Cross packages were not permitted the prisoners and were left to rot in a warehouse crammed with provisions nearby the prison while prisoners starved to death and suffered terribly. Several officers inside the prison planned an attempt at tunneling under the wall of the prison and out ... finally succeeding after several foiled attempts. Even after escaping, about half didn't make it to freedom, having been either recaptured or killed. This is a testament to the strength and determination of men to risk everything to be free.

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