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The last escaper / by Peter Tunstall.

By: Tunstall, Peter [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Duckworth Overlook, 2014Description: viii, 320 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780715649237 (hardback); 071564923X (hardback).Subject(s): Tunstall, Peter | World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, British | World War, 1939-1945 -- Prisoners and prisons, German | World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations, BritishDDC classification: 940.5472432122092 Summary: The product of a lifetimes reflection, The Last Escaper is Peter Tunstalls unforgettable memoir of his days in the RAF and as one of the most celebrated of all British POWs. Tunstall was an infamous tormentor of his German captors dubbed the cooler king (on account of his long spells in solitary), but also a highly skilled pilot, loyal friend and trusted colleague. Without false pride or bitterness, Tunstall recounts the high jinks of training to be a pilot, terrifying bombing raids in his Hampden and of elaborate escape attempts at once hilarious and deadly serious all part of a poignant and human war story superbly told by a natural raconteur. The Last Escaper is a charming and hugely informative last testament written by the last man standing from the Colditz generation who risked their lives in the Second World War. It will take its place as one of the classic first-hand accounts of that momentous conflict.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The product of a lifetimes reflection, The Last Escaper is Peter Tunstalls unforgettable memoir of his days in the RAF and as one of the most celebrated of all British POWs. Tunstall was an infamous tormentor of his German captors dubbed the cooler king (on account of his long spells in solitary), but also a highly skilled pilot, loyal friend and trusted colleague. Without false pride or bitterness, Tunstall recounts the high jinks of training to be a pilot, terrifying bombing raids in his Hampden and of elaborate escape attempts at once hilarious and deadly serious all part of a poignant and human war story superbly told by a natural raconteur. The Last Escaper is a charming and hugely informative last testament written by the last man standing from the Colditz generation who risked their lives in the Second World War. It will take its place as one of the classic first-hand accounts of that momentous conflict. AUTHOR: Peter Tunstall joined the RAF in 1937 and flew numerous combat missions before his capture off the Dutch coast. After spells in several German POW camps including Spangenberg Castle, and many audacious and imaginative escape attempts, he arrived in Colditz where he was imprisoned alongside other celebrated POW legends including Douglas Bader, Pat Reid and Airey Neave. In 1945 he returned to Britain, subsequently working as an actor and in civil aviation. He has only recently died aged 95. This is the first and only book in which his unique and compelling story is told.

Includes index.

"The untold first-hand story of the legendary bomber pilot, 'Cooler King' and arch escape artist"--Cover.

The product of a lifetimes reflection, The Last Escaper is Peter Tunstalls unforgettable memoir of his days in the RAF and as one of the most celebrated of all British POWs. Tunstall was an infamous tormentor of his German captors dubbed the cooler king (on account of his long spells in solitary), but also a highly skilled pilot, loyal friend and trusted colleague. Without false pride or bitterness, Tunstall recounts the high jinks of training to be a pilot, terrifying bombing raids in his Hampden and of elaborate escape attempts at once hilarious and deadly serious all part of a poignant and human war story superbly told by a natural raconteur. The Last Escaper is a charming and hugely informative last testament written by the last man standing from the Colditz generation who risked their lives in the Second World War. It will take its place as one of the classic first-hand accounts of that momentous conflict.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

In this posthumous memoir, Tunstall (1918-2013) relates his experiences as an RAF pilot during WWII. Captured early on, he spent the duration of the war at several different POW facilities, and he offers gripping details of his prison life, especially his many harrowing escape attempts. There is no doubt that he was an innovative escape artist, pioneering many tricks of the trade-including the immediate costume change-and helping intelligence operations with his use of "split photographs" combined with codes, in which he hid information between the layers of paper photographs. Tunstall also shares some impressive methods for manufacturing the clothing, documents, and other items needed for a successful escape. He spends the book's closing pages defending the Allied bombing offensive that may have hastened Germany's surrender, perhaps due to the postwar outcry against it. Tunstall's informal prose reads like a letter home and is heavily flavored by the author's perceptions. But the historical account of behind-the-scenes drama makes this a valuable addition to the period literature. (Jan) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

A remarkable memoir of a British lad's salad days flying bombers against the Nazis and then repeatedly escaping their prison camps.Tunstall, who died in 2013, suggests that his debut might be the last of its kind: "To the best of my knowledge, there are fewer than half a dozen of us still alive who were in Colditz during the Second World War." The author grew up simultaneously irreverent and patriotic, entranced by the early spirit of aviation. An RAF officer when war broke out, Tunstall yearned to fly fighters and participated in chaotic raids against German fuel production, piloting the primitive Hampden bomber. After navigational problems forced him to land on a Dutch beach in August 1940, he and his fellow soldiers were captured by German occupiers. The British prisoners maintained a cheerful defiance, following Tunstall's training to become "as big a bloody nuisance as possible to the enemy" once a prisoner of war. Immediately, Tunstall became preoccupied by the determination to escape: "I had not [yet] learned that the best time to escape is usually as soon as possible." Recaptured after two cunning attempts involving fabricated uniforms, Tunstall was sent to the notorious "punishment camp" Colditz Castle. Though considered escape-proof, the Nazis erred in consolidating the most recalcitrant Allied POWs in one place. As the war continued, MI9 increasingly aided the British POWs, smuggling in money and forged documents, while Tunstall audaciously sent them intelligence inside split photographs, via letters he was permitted to send to his fiancee. Tunstall portrays a brutal, surreal time with detailed recall and elegant, roguish humor, though he never loses sight of the larger stakes, noting how the Germans "seemed to wallow in the atmosphere of harsh oppression and hopelessness they had created." An engrossing valediction to the tough, imaginative generation forged by the war. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.