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The Wooden Horse
Eric Williams
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The Wooden Horse

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  721 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Based on true events in which the author, calling himself Peter, was involved, this is the story of a successful escape from Stalag Luft III in German-occupied Poland, by British prisoners of war, during WWII.
The title is well chose, for it was by means of a wooden vaulting-horse that Eric Williams and his two companions made their way out of the captivity of a German pris
Published 1980 by Bantam (first published 1949)
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Pramod Nair
Wooden Horse’ is a fictionalized narration of the true events behind one of the most ingenious and daring escape made by POWs from a German prison camp during World War II. Written by RAF Flight Lieutenant ‘Eric Williams’, who was one of the escapees this book is an absorbing narration of how perseverance, bravery and ingenuity helped the prisoners to break from a POW prison camp which was specially designed to be escape-resistant.

Eric Williams was shot down over Germany in 1942 and was initia
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first escape story from a POW camp. I loved it! The ingenuity of it all. Speaking with second world war veterans, they tell of amazing things the prisoners got up to and how they all felt it was their duty to try and escape.
Kathryn Judson
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Powell
There are two significantly different versions of this book. Eric Williams' original 1949 edition was written while military censorship was still in force, and is a simpler story, built around simpler characters.

In the 1979 edition, Williams sets the records straight on (particularly) one event that was invented to make a better ending for the 1949 book. The rest of the book is significantly revised and expanded, also, and the PoWs' language becomes less "comic-book" and more (one assumes) true
Mary L.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story of life in a stalag and escaping from it. Hogan's Heros isn't quite as far fetched as we might think. Men can be amazing in their kindness to each other under adversity. I am so glad that I decided to read this.
Raymond Bial
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great escape books of all time about RAF flyers imprisoned in an infamous German POW camp during World War II.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
A daring tale of escape from the eyes of a British soldier in a German POW camp... Told with a flowing style, underlying humor, and quick dialogue. Good Book!
Sharyn Cardinali
The rest is over

A never ending source of fear and danger from the German Army spurs two American Officers to circumvent the prison camp rules and regulations to work endlessly on escape. I really liked this book.
Steve Hall
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old friend revisited!

Great read! I first read this in the mid 1960's, and enjoyed it hugely. When I saw it, I knew that a re-read was in order. The understated British manner is captivating. Mr. Williams was a true cousin to our own greatest generation.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes reading about the resilience of people in any circumstance. I was absorbed in this book from the first page to the last. I was a teen during Vietnam and there are still so many of our guys unaccounted for.....
Red Penn
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the humour found by WW2 prisoners of war held in Germany. Read it age 15, and still recommend it to teens.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Journey back to my youth.

I first read this book as a teenager in the early 1950's. I later saw the movie. Both experiences were first class. Thank you Bookbub for finding and releasing the book electronically so that I could relive the prisoners experience once more.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
probably read in winter 1970
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fictionalized version of historical fact. Done so, because when it was originally written and published censorship was a much stronger force
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I started to read this WWII escape story, it seemed too vivid to be “made up”. A little research revealed that The Wooden Horse was, indeed, a novelized version of true events. Eric Williams was an Englishman in the Royal Air Force when he was shot down over Germany at the beginning of the war. The wooden horse in the title refers to a contraption the prisoners used to cover up an escape tunnel they were digging. As men dug in the tunnel, other men vaulted over the “horse," pretending to be d ...more
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read on prisoner of war life and the strong need to escape; after all, that is the prisoners duty - to escape. And knowing that this is a true story made it all the more interesting to me. I love reading the survival stories of World War II. I read from a 1950 printing in which Eric Williams wrote he could now freely write of the Escape and had used a little of the material he had originally written in his 1943 book "Goon in the Block".
Edward L
This is a true story about escape from a German Prisoner of War Camp by three British soldiers during WWII.. It involves the use of a Wooden Horse but quite different from the famous horse used by the Greeks at Troy. It is a good story highlighting the ingenuity of the English prisoners at the camp and the daring successful escape from the camp and return to Great Britain.
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was like a rollercoaster ride. Sometimes the action zipped along quickly and others it slowly ascended towards the climax. Written about an escape from a World War Two German camp, detailing how three British officers hid the entrance to their tunnel under a wooden vaulting horse. I enjoyed this book even in the slow parts and wood recommend it to anyone who enjoys war stories.
Iris (The Sheep and the Wolf)
Not really my style of book (I picked it up because it's one of my dad's favourites), but an amazing story! I guess it really is acquired taste though: Williams obsesses over the smallest details and therefore the main part of the story feels very slow at times, whereas the ending to me was very sudden and abrupt.
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good 2 cassette audio book that I read in February 2007 even though this book was published in 1984. This is a true 2 hour story about how two English pilots were shot down, captured, imprisoned at Stalag-Luft III on December 17, 1942, and how they escaped to freedom using a very clever deception, and a lot of determination.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, danish, 2010
An interesting and amazing story especially knowing that it is a true story. It is the story telling and not the story that is the reason for three and not four stars, but being written as a novel instead of a non-fiction story it somehow fails to really capture me.
Joseph Hofmann
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read ages ago and need to re read. During the digging of the tunnels in Stalag Luft III (the Great Escape), some prisoners came up with an ingenious invention to fool the Germans and shorten a tunnel by hundreds of yards. Amazing story and written extremely well
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was engrossed from the first chapter. I could not imagine being in the position of being a POW. These men not only escaped but made it home. I felt for them at every moment of their journey and felt immense joy that all three escapees made it home.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could go on.
This book encompasses all of the above and more. A great tale , well told by the author. This story grips your attention while reading and it won't let go.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novelization of a true WWII escape story. Three British prisoners use a vault horse with a false bottom to dig a tunnel under the wire. It was a clever plan that worked and two of the prisoners were able to escape all the way back to England.
Randy Grossman

The escape processes was pretty interesting. Once they got out there really was not much suspense during their flight out of Germany to home. It wasn't totally boring, but it was not compelling either.
Steve Markham
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I have wanted to read it for a long time and eventually I got round to doing just that. I like reading books based around the second world war and it helps when you know it really happened.
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best account of a POW escape attempt. I have read this book over and over. Also recommend The Tunnel, about a previous escape attempt.
Ali Bin
An honest account...a good read :)
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Eric Williams, MC was a former Second World War RAF pilot and prisoner of war who wrote several books dealing with his escapes from prisoner-of-war camps.
At the end of the war, on the long sea voyage home, Williams wrote Goon In The Block, a short book based on his experiences. Four years later, in 1949, he rewrote it as a much longer third-person narrative under the title The Wooden Horse. He inc
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