Prisoners of the Castle
By Ben Macintyre
Published by Viking/Penguin
RRP $35.00 in paperback
Author Ben Macintyre answers the obvious question why another book on Colditz?
In his preface, he insists that the myth of Colditz as the stiff upper lipped white male Allied officer dedicated to escaping the forbidding Gothic castle located on a hilltop in the heart of Nazi Germany, is only half the story.
What Macintyre reveals is not only a tale of the indomitable human spirit but also one of class conflict, homosexuality, espionage, insanity and farce.
Through an astonishing range of material, Macintyre reveals a remarkable cast of characters, wider than previously seen and hitherto hidden from history, taking in prisoners and captors who were living cheek-by-jowl in a deadly game of cat and mouse. From the elitist members of the Colditz Bullingdon Club to America’s oldest paratrooper and least successful secret agent, the soldier-prisoners of Colditz were courageous and resilient as well as vulnerable and fearful – and astonishingly imaginative in their desperate escape attempts.
VERDICT: Thoroughly researched and well illustrated with photographs and a detailed layout of the prison, this could well be the definitive book on Colditz.
NOTE: One of Macintyre’s earlier books, Operation Mincemeat, recently became a film, and is now on streaming platforms.