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The Barbed-Wire University
The conventional picture of Allied POWs in the World War II prisoner-of-war camps is of escape attempts (Colditz and The Great Escape) or terrible brutality (the Far Eastern camps and The Bridge on the River Kwai). But what did the men really do all day? In fact, as this extraordinary and acclaimed book shows, British prisoners showed the most amazing ingenuity and determination to turn their camp into a hive of every kind of activity.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Rich and insightful panorama of POW life. Every one of the pages hums with human interest and the whole enterprise is conducted with the highest standards of scholarship Daily Express These astonishing tales of improvisation, ingenuity and courage are so enthralling. Every facet of this epic story is covered with sensitivity, restraint, and a leavening humour...full of unforgettable stories...Such stories illuminate a great subject in engrossing detail The Spectator Midge Gillies has tackled a colossal subject with calm professionalism and a lightness of touch which makes it a great joy to read. An outstanding piece of scholarship which is as readable as it is informative BBC History Magazine Outstanding...absorbing Soldier Magazine Midge Gillies's engaging The Barbed-Wire University...is a breezy, edifying history which knits together compelling tragi-comic tales -- Frank Keating The Guardian Fascinating book by the daughter of a POW...written in an easy human style and very informative Arrse.co.uk (Army website) Brilliantly researched...Gillies has weaved her findings into a fascinating and deeply moving piece of social history Mail on Sunday What the reader is most likely to take away from this rich and well-researched book is a sense of the extraordinary ingenuity and resourcefulness so many POWs displayed The Sunday Times Many eye-opening facts in a bright new history of POWs...I'm finding it enthralling The Guardian One of the best war books I have ever read -- Nicholas Lezard The Guardian 'a valuable, fascinating and moving book ... this is a riveting collection of stories about incredible resourcefulness. Many of the PoWs found new skills they had not imagined in the free world, read books they would never have read otherwise (the "university" in the book's title is not mere fancy), and forged friendships that would have been impossible in a more class-bound society. And Clive Dunn's reminders, in Dad's Army, that the Germans don't like it up 'em, would have lost much urgency, one suspects, had he never been captured by them.' The Guardian