The Grand Escape (Hardcover)

The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century (Scholastic Focus): The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century

By Neal Bascomb

Arthur A. Levine Books, 9781338140347, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 25, 2018

Other Editions of This Title:
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (10/1/2018)
Paperback (12/29/2020)

List Price: 18.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


***Three starred reviews!***

Neal Bascomb, author of The Nazi Hunters, returns with his next thrilling work of narrative nonfiction about a group of Allied POWs who staged an escape for the ages during World War I. Illustrated throughout with incredible photographs and published on the 100th anniversary of the Holzminden escape!

At the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners--and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war.

About the Author

Neal Bascomb is the author of The Nazi Hunters, winner of the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award in 2014, among numerous other awards. His second young adult book, Sabotage, was called "excellent" in a starred review from School Library Journal. He is also the author of six nonfiction books for adults on subjects ranging from a 1905 Russian submarine mutiny to a contemporary high school robotics team. The Perfect Mile, Winter Fortress, and Hunting Eichmann went on to be New York Times and international bestsellers. Neal lives in Seattle with his family and rascal dog Moses. Please visit his website at and follow him on Facebook at @nealrbascomb.

Praise For The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century (Scholastic Focus): The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century

Praise for The Grand Escape:

* "Bascomb does an extraordinary job of bringing the principal escapees to life.... His account of the Herculean task of digging of the tunnel is fascinating, viscerally evoking the claustrophobic act. He also invests his account with page-turning suspense and colorful detail. The narrative is enhanced by the inclusion of generous period photographs and contemporary maps and charts. Altogether the book is a marvel of research and an example of narrative nonfiction at its finest. It's a grand adventure." -- Booklist, starred review

* "Suspenseful reading, enhanced by diagrams and photographs. A fine escapade related with proper drama and likely to be news even to well-read young historians." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "It is a tale of triumph that became a template for future prisoners of war, and Bascomb's heavy, well-cited research provides the information readers need.... A fantastic pick for avid history readers." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Plenty of photographs put faces to the escapees, and diagrams and maps illuminate the prison layout, tunnel, and destinations for border crossing. An introductory "List of Participants" is handy for reader review, and sources notes, bibliography, and index direct readers pursuing research. This, however, is a real-life thriller that's too compelling to relegate merely to World War I report writers." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"An excellent piece of history presented in a readable, entertaining format." -- School Library Connection

Praise for The Escape Artists:

* "Fast-paced account of a forgotten episode of World War I history.... Bascomb's portraits of the principals are affecting.... Expertly narrated, with just the right level of detail and drama." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A crackling good adventure.... Action-packed, briskly paced." -- Publishers Weekly

"Paul Brickhill's The Great Escape (1950) is widely considered the best nonfiction book about escapes from wartime prison camps. This gripping new volume gives Brickhill's classic a run for its money.... The book is intensely detailed and written with a prose style that puts readers right there in the camp with the prisoners: when the prisoners hold their breath, terrified of being discovered in a secret activity, the reader will hold his or her breath, too. In the ever-expanding genre of prison-escape sagas, this one joins the top ranks." -- Booklist

"A remarkable piece of hidden history, told perfectly... brims with adventure, suspense, daring, and heroism." -- David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon

"A ripping yarn -- timely and beautifully told." -- Alex Kershaw, author of The Longest Winter

"A rousing story of resilience and courage... Impeccable research and a page-turning narrative." -- Tom Clavin, author of Dodge City

"Thrilling, jaw-on-the-floor stuff." -- Alexander Rose, author of Washington's Spies and Men of War

"Don't wait for the movie. You'll feel like you're in one by the second page... In the midst of history's cruelest war, a band of Allied POWs brilliantly combined their unique talents, wit, and boundless grit to pull off the greatest breakout of the Great War." -- John U. Bacon, author of The Great Halifax Explosion