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The Colditz Story

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  865 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Colditz was the last stop for prisoners of war in the Second World War. It was to this impregnable fortress that the Germans sent all those prisoners who persisted in escaping from other camps, such as Stalag Luft III (of THE GREAT ESCAPE FAME). Once within the walls of Colditz, the Germans reasoned, escape was impossible. And yet during the four-year period when the castl ...more
Paperback, Cassell Military Paperbacks, 224 pages
Published February 8th 2001 by Phoenix (first published 1952)
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Showing 1-30
4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  865 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Ahmed AlSaqi
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
What a book, What a wonderful story, it's really deserve 5 stars.
My copy was translated to Arabic ( My native language ).
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: challenge2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An absolute classic. If you've any interest in WW2 at all then this is compulsory reading.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, favorites
An amazing story of courage, daring and at times damn right lunacy. This is a must for anyone with a passion for history. I loved every nail biting moment of this book, so much so I watched all of the bbc series after finishing the book with friends to try and quench my thirst for more Colditz thrills. I also recently stayed at the castle, now a youth hostel and thoroughly enjoyed coming face to face with the places mentioned in the book.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story told in a typically understated English style.
Linda Visman
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It is a long time since I read this book, but I know it was good and that it is invaluable for anyone wanting to know about POW conditions in German stalags during WWII. Recommended.
P.S. Winn
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book on the horror of WW II and the ingenuity, compassion and bravery of those held prisoner and some of the escapes despite the odds.
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII enthusiasts, history buffs and those interested in the psychology of prisoners
Recommended to Gary by: BBC TV
The amazing true story of the men imprisoned in Colditz Castle, surely the most impressive prisoner-of-war camp in modern history.

The prisoners sent to Colditz had all escaped before from other camps and were sent there because it was considered escape-proof - ha! The Germans' mistake, of course, was to concentrate all that energy and skill in one place, so the prisoners were not so much concerned with whether they could escape but whether they could beat their fellow prisoners to the draw.

Rick Brindle
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, military
This is a really good first hand account of life at Colditz and of the various escape attempts made by the prisoners there. The stiff upper lip-ness throughout is amazing and humbling at the same time. It has been said that the British were at their best during World War 2, and I believe it. That is not to say though, that it was just the jolly old Brits who were mentioned in the book, and it's fair to say that the supreme courage written about here is most definitely not exclusively belonging t ...more
2.5 stars, to rate this more accurately. Good story but I personally think that P. R. Reid could have done better by hiring a good editor.

The story feels highly disjointed and it is really difficult even to remember names of most of the characters. Nevertheless, this is a good inclusion to my world war non-fiction shelf.
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A reread; first read many years ago. Exciting and concise. The focus is on escapes and escape plans, you won't find many other details about the people or prison life. I picked it up again after watching the 2005 miniseries Colditz, which had some insight into the difficulties faced by POWs but was totally derailed by a terrible soap opera/love triangle.
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, world-war-ii
During World War II Allied prisoners of war were sent to the German prison Colditz. Pat Reid was designated as the "escape officer." He made his own successful escape in 1942. This is the story of his attempts.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
this is a amazing book
Cerberus Flame
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
lol do u know that more people escaped from colditz than any other ww2 pow camp(bet that anoyed preim!!) :-) GO PAT REID
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: WWII buffs
Recommended to Hammonrs by: Referals from other books
An exciting book about a fantastic adventure. A good shelf-mate to "The Great Escape" and "The Wooden Horse".
Simon Mcleish
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 2009.

The Colditz Story is the tale of the British prisoners of war incarcerated in Oflag IV C, Colditz Castle, which was used to hold officers who had already attempted to escape from other camps by the Germans during the Second World War. Reid, as Escape Officer (co-ordinator of escape attempts) helped organise many escapes and was in an ideal position to document them. The book covers the period from Reid's arrival as Colditz was being set up, to
Josh Woodward
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jolly good old boys, what a good old time it was. Spam and raisins for dinner, rowdy shenanigans at Appel. We sure did show those gerry goons!

This book reads like Hogans' Heroes, until it doesn't. Usually when a ruddy gerry goon shoots one of our good old boys in the back. Stiff upper lip and all that my good man, nothing can stop these plucky Brits from giving their deviled best sir!
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had not read much on Colditz so this was a great introduction to the camp and it's prisoners. The prisoners sent here were the ones who persisted in trying to escape other camps. Unfortunately, Colditz was not inescapable either. It was so interesting reading about all the ways these prisoners devised to escape. Their ingenuity was awe inspiring.
Mike Jennings
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew this would be good before I picked it up.
Better than expected, though. Reid conveys the frustration, boredom and fear very well.
If you think war is all 'derring do' and excitement read this.
Also try "The Tunnel" by Eric Williams which has much the same effect.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread for the first time in nearly 47 years!

Back in the early 70’s Pat Reid the author was an advisor to the brilliant BBC series. “Colditz” which so impressed me I had to reward the true story- I was not disappointed!
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006-2010, oorlog
Colditz kasteel was een plek waar er meer bewakers waren dan krijgsgevangen. Het zou onmogelijk zijn om uit deze gevangenis te ontsnappen. Maar in de periode 40-42 zijn er toch meer dan 300 pogingen gedaan waaronder de geslaagde poging van de auteur zelf. In dit boek vertelt hij over de pogingen.

Een mooi boek dat mij heeft geboeid tot het eind. ik wilde weten wat er gebeurde en wilde weten of ze het haalden.
Het is een deel van een biografie waar je eigenlijk op wacht, maar die niet k
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
WWII memoirs are a special genre unto themselves, and as far as I am concerned, this is the king of the genre. I recommended it to a friend recently and since then our copy has gone through two other families, leaving much joy in its wake.

Colditz Castle was the German POW camp for escape artists. Pat Reid, the author, arrived there in 1940 after a failed escape attempt from another POW camp and left in 1942 through a kitchen window late at night. In the interim, he held the position of Escape O
Rupert Matthews
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating. And well written, too, which is a big plus for these sorts of memoirs. In this book Reid takes us through his experiences as a Prisoner of War from when he was captured at Dunkirk through to his eventual escape and return to Britain. Along the way we learn about assorted escape attempts - some by Reid some by others - as well as the techniques and tactics used by both the prisoners and German guards. All this is made all the more thrilling by the fact that Reid really was ...more
Mar 26, 2014 added it
Awesome. I want to escape ;) It is nothing to compare what want & ingenuity can do. Its also telling to that "guide" for the future of any reader (allied or "other") just how an escapee planned and distracted their captors...
I read this as a one volume as the other part was(a separately published book): Latter Days At Colditz; which described in more detail the individuals the author had come to know in the camp. Its was very interesting and also emotional, to feel the authors words of want
Layla Ashby
Very good true story about Colditz By P R Reid.

How there lives were within colditz castle after being taken POW'S during WW2.
Hundreds of Men in one place trapped with a desire to get out by any means possible, then best option was to tunnel out but this was no easy task, so they had to dig the tunnels when possible,
or try and walk out the camp, past German guards who patrolled the gates and castle 24 hours a day.
seeing to do the impossible, they made it possible some men did others didn't.

Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a classic "escape" story. Colditz Castle was a German P.O.W. camp for repeat escapees. It had been used by the Germans in WWI - it is a real castle - and had been a secure camp.

The Allied soldiers who were brought there were creative and dedicated to escape. Their story is very readable, entertaining and a cautionary tale.
Craig Herbertson
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having visited Colditz, a crumbling castle int he Wild Wild East and havin stared at the tiny tins of spam, the tunnels, the old photographs and the old caretaker who offered to sell the place for a cent I had to reread this story of the escape committes and their tribulations. Different breed of men.
There's a reason prison breaks make for such great movies. The story's all action. But, pinned to the page, in flavourless summary narrative, this particular prison break becomes yawningly dull.

Add to this a plummy-voiced audiobook reader who grated on my nerves, and I couldn't even make it to the halfway point.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
This might be an odd thing to say about a war memoir, but it reads as though it was written for publication during the war as propaganda rather than as a considered first-hand historical account; yet the foreword/afterword make it clear that this is not so. Perhaps I ought to read the 80s update for comparison at some stage.
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Major Patrick Robert "Pat" Reid, MBE, MC was a British Army officer and author of non-fiction largely based upon his firsthand experiences during World War II.