Today I finished another historical nonfiction narrative, and I finished it all in one day. I know it isn’t my usual genre but there were so many things that I liked about it. The name of this book is The Grand Escape by Neal Bascomb and it is targeted toward young adults interested in learning more about history. The synopsis follows below:
Neal Bascomb, author of The Nazi Hunters, returns with his next thrilling work of narrative nonfiction about a group of Allied POWs who staged an escape for the ages during World War I. Illustrated throughout with incredible photographs and published on the 100th anniversary of the Holzminden escape!
At the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners–and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war.
Okay wow, I have to admit, this book was super inspiring! I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy it, because I just finished a narrative nonfiction book right before this one, and while it was good, it was a really hard read and very difficult to keep track of all the different historical characters, but Bascomb did a good job of introducing each figure, and then reminding us of who was who. I felt like I could relate to each escapee, and understood them and their drive. His narration of the German guards was also on point- they were flawed but they were human, and not all of them were monsters.
There were also lots of pictures, illustrations and maps. I find it much easier to understand and follow along when I read as I’m sure anyone who reads and follows my blog is well aware of. Because I was reading an ARC, some of the pictures were still missing but once finished, the array of these visual aids will be amazing. As for age group, I think that it is spot on. The language is something that anyone over the age of 12 should be able to follow, and the narrative is captivating; I enjoyed reading it!
While I am rating this book a 4 star, this is simply because of my own preferences in subject matter. This book was a well crafted narrative of what truly was the greatest escape of the 20th century, and throughout my reading I found myself cheering on these inspiring men. My choice in rating it a 4 star comes from the fact that while I learned a lot about the escape and the POW camps in Germany, I felt that the subject matter was very narrow. This book would be a great read as a side project for young adults in history classes, or anyone who simply wants a more personalized approach to learning about the people involved in World War 1. If this sounds like you, make sure to preorder the book which will be published September 25th!