Whilst the traditional view of British prisoners of war has been created by ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘The Colditz Story’, the reality for the majority of POWs was far different. This is the first book to instead focus on the story of the thousands of POWs who were forced to work in German coal mines, factories and farms. Some were even forced to work in Auschwitz concentration camp. The long hours and heavy work meant that few had sufficient energy left to plan escape attempts.
Using a number of first-hand accounts, the book shows that the POWs endured a miserable and often dangerous existence in the work-camps. It follows prisoners of war from the moment of capture, through their emotional response to captivity, survival in the work camps and their eventual return home. For many, the return home followed a ‘death march’ of hundreds of miles through Poland and Germany during which POWs died from disease and exhaustion. Themes covered include: sex, alcohol, food, mental illness, black market trading, disease and violence.
Born in Bedford in 1965, Sean Longden first became interested in history as a child listening to his grandfather’s tales of Gallipoli. He went on to study history at the School of Slavonic and East European studies, University of London. After graduation he worked in a number of photographic archives and press agencies. During this period he worked as a picture editor, indexer and caption writer.It was working with archives of World War Two photographs that sparked his interest in the period and inspired him to write books that look beyond basic military history and into the lives of ...
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