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Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape…
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Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War… (edition 2011)

by Joseph Wheelan (Author)

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451439,353 (3.4)5
While many books have been inspired by the horrors of Andersonville prison, none have chronicled with any depth or detail the amazing tunnel escape from Libby Prison in Richmond. Now Joseph Wheelan examines what became the most important escape of the Civil War from a Confederate prison, one that ultimately increased the North's and South's willingness to use prisoners in waging "total war." In a converted tobacco warehouse, Libby's 1,200 Union officers survived on cornbread and bug-infested soup, and slept without blankets on the bare floor. With prisoner exchanges suspended, escape and death were the only ways out. Libby Prison Breakout recounts the largely unknown story of the escape of 109 steel-nerved officers through a 55-foot tunnel, and their flight in winter through the heart of the enemy homeland, amid an all-out Rebel manhunt. The officers' later testimony in Washington spurred two far-reaching investigations and a new cycle of retaliation against Rebel captives.… (more)
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» See also 5 mentions

Great book about something I knew absolutely nothing about. I am not a huge Civil War buff, but I do enjoy historical non-fiction. And this particular historical non-fiction book reads like fiction. It does start out a little slow with its brief discussion of Richmond's history and details of some of the key Confederate and Union players, but I think without this background, the book would be incomplete. The book starts to pick up steam fairly quickly and then starts to read like a good action/adventure novel. The conditions in the prison were deplorable, and the author does a really good job describing these conditions (almost too good - people who are squeamish about rodents should not read this book). The prisoners who hatched the escape plan failed so many times before they finally hit upon a winning solution, and it really is kind of incredible that they still had the will to persist.

Having seen the movie "The Great Escape" (about WWII prisoners of war trying to escape a German war prisoner camp), I was surprised to find many parallels to this particular story. If you liked that movie, you will like this book and will find that the prisoners in this book encountered many of the same issues that befell the escapees in "The Great Escape." ( )
  slug9000 | Oct 10, 2013 |
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While many books have been inspired by the horrors of Andersonville prison, none have chronicled with any depth or detail the amazing tunnel escape from Libby Prison in Richmond. Now Joseph Wheelan examines what became the most important escape of the Civil War from a Confederate prison, one that ultimately increased the North's and South's willingness to use prisoners in waging "total war." In a converted tobacco warehouse, Libby's 1,200 Union officers survived on cornbread and bug-infested soup, and slept without blankets on the bare floor. With prisoner exchanges suspended, escape and death were the only ways out. Libby Prison Breakout recounts the largely unknown story of the escape of 109 steel-nerved officers through a 55-foot tunnel, and their flight in winter through the heart of the enemy homeland, amid an all-out Rebel manhunt. The officers' later testimony in Washington spurred two far-reaching investigations and a new cycle of retaliation against Rebel captives.

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