Monday, September 13, 2010

TV Tie-ins: Colditz

(* Beginning a season of war-related tie-in novels and other odds and ends.)

The Colditz Story by P. R. Reid, MBE, MC (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1952)
Pan 273, (Jun) 1954, 223pp, 2/-. Cover by F.V.M.
——, 2nd imp., 1954; 3rd imp., 1954; 4th imp., 1954; 5th imp., 1955; 6th imp., 1955; 7th imp., 1955; 8th imp., 1956.
Pan G197, 1957. Cover by F.V.M.
Hodder, Nov 1962.
——, 2nd imp., 1965; 3rd imp., 1967; 4th imp., 1969; 5th imp., 1969; 6th imp., 1970.
Coronet 0340-02406-2, 1972, 223pp, 30p. Cover photo by Crispian Woodgate
The Colditz Story is one of the major escape epics of the Second World War. Colditz Castle was the special prison to which Germans sent all Allied officer prisoners who had already tried to escape from other camps. It was supposed to be escape-proof. The garrison always outnumbered the prisoners; the castle, perched on a precipitous rock, was completely floodlit at night in spite of the blackout, Yet, as the Germans might have realised, here was concentrated a body of men skilled in escape techniques and of the highest morale. Patrick Reid was chosen by his companions to take charge of escape planning. In this exciting book he tells of many daring exploits, culminating with his own getaway. He also describes the extraordinary life of the prisoners, who dreamed of escape day and night, and relates the ways, both humorous and ingenious, in which the German guards were continually bamboozled and kept in a state of nervous tension.
The Latter Days at Colditz by P. R. Reid, MBE, MC (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1953)
Pan GP37, (Nov) 1955. Cover by Sax
Hodder, 1965.
——, 2nd imp., 1965; 3rd imp., 1969; 4th imp., 1970.
Coronet 0340-01180-7, 1972, 320pp, 35p. Cover photo by Crispian Woodgate
Here is the thrilling sequel to The Colditz Story, with all the courage and bravado, daring and skill that made The Colditz Story into an international bestseller.
__Here are the German captors and the infamous S.S., the indestructible prisoners of war and the gruelling conditions that went to make Oflag VIIC the most feared and respected of any P.O.W. camp.
__And here again is a story of brave and red-blooded action, of the sort of heroism that makes gods of mere men.
Colditz (omnibus; London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1962)
Coronet 034-38631-2, 1986.

Colditz was a BBC TV co-production with Universal Television starring Robert Wagner and David McCallum. It was produced by Gerard Glaister and ran for two seasons, a total of 28 episodes. IMDB.

About the author [1954]
P. R. Reid was born in 1910 in India, was educated in Ireland and in England, and studied civil engineering at King's College, London University. On the outbreak of war he was R.A.S.C. Ammunition Liaison Officer, attached to 2nd Divisional Headquarters in France; he was awarded the M.B.E. for his work during the winter 'cold war' of 1939-40. After seventeen days of fighting in May 1940, he was captured by the Germans and sent to Oflag VIIC, Laufen, near Saltzburg, where his story begins. After his escape from Germany in October 1942, for which he was awarded the M.C., he was appointed Assistant Military Attache in Berne, Switzerland. When the war ended he served for some years as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Ankara, and later worked at the Marshall Plan Headquarters in Paris. He now farms in Sussex and has been adopted as Conservative candidate for the Parliamentary division of Dartford.

Colditz: The German Viewpoint by Reinhold Eggers (translated and edited by Howard Gee, London, Robert Hale, 1961)
Pan X206, 1963.
New English Library 0450-01296-4, Oct 1972, 221pp, 40p.
Colditz. Easily the best-known of all the German P.O.W. prison camps. A fortress where only the most dangerous and habitual escapers were confined. The Germans thought it was an excellent idea to try and keep all of their habitual escapees in one jail.
__During the latter part of the war the author was in charge of security at the prison and he reveals for the first time from the German side, just how surprising the result was of their plan. The book is both entertaining and exciting, it is one of the finest and most unusual stories to come out of the Second World War.

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