March 8th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

ASIA: Taiwan: opposition parties combine for next poll

BOOKS: The Aquariums Of Pyongyang: Ten Years In The North Korean Gulag

BOOKS: Charles Dickens, by Jane Smiley

BOOKS: The Great Escape, by Anton Gill

COVER STORY: Iraq: make haste slowly

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard shifts focus to domestic issues

AGRICULTURE: Sugar industry reports: 'social science fiction' - Ted Kolsen

FARM INCOME: Rising dollar exposes parlous state of agriculture

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Middle life crisis / Damaged goods? / The green carnations

DRUGS: Quit Marijuana an effective program in New South Wales

DRUGS - DOCUMENTATION: New cannabis studies confirm danger to users

DRUGS: 'Fifth columnist' Mike Trace resigns UN drug post

Sugar levy (letter)

Financial planning (letter)

COMMENT: Christians and Muslims in Europe: how can they co-exist?

EMPLOYMENT: Casualisation a conjuring trick

ECONOMICS: 'Efficiency' blinds policy makers' judgment

Farmers' water rights at stake

ASIA: Is reunification possible for the two Koreas?

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The Great Escape, by Anton Gill

by Michael Daniel (reviewer)

News Weekly, March 8, 2003
The Great Escape
by Anton Gill

Available from News Weekly Books for $60.00 plus p&h

One of the most well known incidents in World War II, immortalised in the classic film The Great Escape, was the mass breakout from prison camp Stalag-Luft III near Sagan in eastern Germany. On the night of 24/25 March 1944, 76 POWs escaped through a tunnel. Only three succeeded in their bid for freedom; however, with 50 of the 73 recaptured murdered on Hitler's orders.

This retelling of the story is based upon extensive research by the author, which included interviews with survivors and their relatives.

The Great Escape retells the events surrounding the establishment of Stalag-Luft III as a POW camp; the plan to construct three tunnels so that if the Germans discovered one of them, work could continue on the others; and practical problems faced by the escapees including the removal of dirt and obtaining wood to shore up the tunnels.

An elaborate escape organisation not only constructed the tunnels but also created items needed by the escapees, including civilian clothing, forged papers, compasses and maps. The Great Escape also details the murder of 50 of the escapees and the efforts made to prosecute successfully those who took part in the killings.

This well-written, interesting account is interspersed with reminiscences from survivors, their friends and families.

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