Review: Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle, by Ben Macintyre

I often like to say that Ben Macintyre can take any bit of history and turn it into a fascinating story. It’s a gift. But in this case, I think he had a rather easier job of it. Because the story of Colditz is so full of unforgettable characters and extraordinary incidents that even a lesser writer would make something of it. Basically, it’s the story of a very stupid idea. Germany had captured lots of Allied soldiers early in the Second World War, many of them officers, and some of them desperate to escape and to resume their fight against the Nazis. Particularly difficult prisoners who were escaping all the time from other POW camps were collected from all over the Reich and put in one place — the hilltop fortress of Colditz in eastern Germany. All those misfits, all those crazy, brave men who would do anything to escape, all put together in a single place. What could possibly go wrong? Another wonderful book by an amazing writer, well-researched, full of unforgettable characters and a real page-turner. Highly recommended.