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The Colditz Story

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  993 ratings  ·  63 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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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  993 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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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.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good WW2 story. I think I may have discovered a new favourite sub genre “WW2 escape stories.” The chapters where they were staying hidden on their journey to the Swiss frontier makes for some of the most tense reading ever. Highly 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.
Erica Char
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
PR Reid is an excellent story teller with an exceptional series of stories to tell. I enjoyed this book so much that I had a serious sulk when I misplaced it for an afternoon.

I cannot rave about this book enough!
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".
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
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
this is a amazing book
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
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper-book, biography
At the risk of sounding like reviews on a back cover: "an adventurous romp, thoroughly entertaining". This is the only WW2 book - probably the only war book - I've read that avoided both cruelty and futility. Those surely existed at Colditz too, though maybe less than elsewhere because it was an officers' POW camp. Most of the credit, however, must go to Reid. It is a great spirit who can resist sharing its burdens, telling only the uplifting parts - and that with relish! I couldn't help grinnin ...more
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.
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!
Dionysi Krinas
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you’re interested in World War II stories particularly escape stories then this is the book for you. Colditz was a very daunting and what seemed to be an ‘escape proof’ fortress but its prisoners proved otherwise. They produced daring attempts and wonderful stories of capture and re-capture in endless efforts for freedom and disruption of the Germans.
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!
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved every page of this book. It was an easy satisfying read and the fact that you get a little history top up is the cherry on top. My only objection is that we don't get to know all the characters better and that we don't follow them longer.
John Mace
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
A very interesting story which came to life after I visited Colditz.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What can I say except "incredible"? Not only is the retelling itself astounding , but the writing is brilliant!
Wandering Wizard
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good read
Mikkel Holstad
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting. The maps and photos help you feel the atmosphere in Colditz, as well as the thorough appendix.
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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.

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