Sunday, February 8, 2015

Moonless Night

Moonless Night by B. A. (Jimmy) James

Summary: Jimmy was one of the men who took part in what came to be called The Great Escape. That was not his only attempted escape, however. Jimmy took part in twelve attempts, which in the end landed him in a concentration camp. In his book he talks about some of his escapes, and about the men who were POWs along side him.

I read this because a friend told me if I did she would read Unbroken. Since it is my goal to get as many people as possible to read Unbroken I readily took her up on the offer. (Not too hard since I love The Great Escape movie.)

Jimmy was captured after his plane was shot down over Germany and spent most of the war trying to get back to his unit. And when he wasn't doing that he spent a great deal of time doing all he could to sabotage the Germans from the inside. During one escape attempt Jimmy and his buddy swapped labels on creates being sent out on the trains. Most of the POWs figured if they could no longer fight they would make life difficult on the Germans, something which got some of them killed.

At first the Germans treated the POWs well. They fed them, the little cabins they were kept in were warm and the men were free to spend most of the day how they pleased. However, after The Great Escape, Hitler felt humiliated and had fifty of the seventy men killed. The others were shipped off and spent the rest of the war in harsh conditions. Jimmy talks about the deaths in his book, but the way he tells his story it is hard to picture just how much danger his life was in. He was nearly killed more than once, but he kept trying to escape. However, in his book he focuses more on the men he met than himself. Something which made me admire him even more.

I had trouble putting this book down. And while it did have some language I would quickly recommend it to older readers. Maybe fifteen and up or thereabouts. It gives a look into the lives of German POWs and all they did to continue their fight even behind fences. There were many brave men who refused to give up, even knowing they would be killed for their escape attempts. 

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