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For you, the war is over.' These famous words marked the end of the Second World War for nearly half a million allied servicemen, and the beginning of a very different battle in captivity. Waged against boredom, brutality, disease, hunger and despair, it was a battle for survival, fought without the aid of weapons against fully armed enemy captors. Based on interviews and correspondence with ex-POWs and their relatives over the last 30 years, Prisoner of War is a major survey of allied POWs from all walks of life. Extraordinary stories of extremes- courage, hope and desperation are revealed in the words of those that were there. Arranged chronologically, the book follows those involved from capture, through interrogation, imprisonment, escape, to final liberation and homecoming. POWs and, in particular, those who broke free, have become a post-war cultural icon; a symbol of the will to survive against the odds. Rich with incident and emotion, Prisoner of War is a compelling look at the lives of extraordinary individuals trapped behind the wire.
Charles Rollings is the author of two books on Royal Air Force POWs in Germany during the Second World War- Wire and Walls (2003) and Wire and Worse (2004), and has been involved in the making of two documentaries, Going Underground- The Great Escape for the BBC, and Prisoner of War, now available on dvd. He has written articles for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian and Independent, and regularly contributes to Book and Magazine Collector. He is married and lives in North London.