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Some of the great untold stories of the Second World War concern the freedom trails, the highly dangerous escape routes out of Nazi Occupied Europe. Over 5,000 British, Commonwealth and American servicemen made the journey over the Pyrenees, the Slovenian mountains and the Italian alps. Many also died en route, killed by the perilous conditions or caught by the German army. It was just as dangerous for the brave men and women of the resistance who kept the routes open.
The Freedom Trails includes the stories of the most charismatic figures of the Second World War, men like Blondie Haslar, leader of the Cockleshell Heroes, US airman Chuck Yaeger (whose story was immortalised in The Right Stuff) and Australian Ralph Churches who orchestrated the mass escape of 100 POWs from Slovenia. There are heroes like Andree de Jongh, a young woman in her twenties who risked her life to smuggle men through occupied France, survived being sent to two concentration camps, and has been described by MI-9 as 'the greatest of our war-time agents'). And villains like traitor Harold Cole who betrayed all the men and women who tried to help him escape France, giving their details to the Gestapo.
Mixing in depth research, interviews with survivors and his own experience of walking the trails, broadcaster and former Royal Marine Monty Halls brings the past to life in this dramatic and gripping slice of military history.
Monty Halls is an ex Royal Marine, marine biologist, documentary broadcaster, expedition leader and writer. He is best known for his Great Escapes series on BBC2 but has presented series for Channel 4, Channel 5, the History Channel and National Geographic. He has written several books including The Fisherman's Apprentice and the Monty Halls' Great Escape series, and is a regular contributor to magazines and newspapers.