Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Escape From Arnhem Book Review

I borrowed this book from the local Library a couple of weeks ago, even started to read it in the Library whilst waiting for the kids to pick their books. It's not a thick book running to 160 pages in total with a fairly low word count per page. As such I romped through it in a few days making me glad I did not buy it.

Godfrey Freeman had no intention of making his story into a book as he says their are many books on the subject and many of these are written by those who were better placed to write an authoritative book on the subject. This may be the reason he offers only a few pages to the subject of the surrender and a few more much later to his journey into Arnhem and what seems to be his only bit of actual combat.

One point that needs to be made early on, Freeman did not escape from Arnhem! and having read the book I can't help but think the decision to call the book by this title was not his but the Publisher. In deed Freeman comes across as a very decent chap and whilst he felt he did not need to add to the books on Arnhem I was left wishing he had written more on his experiences whilst caught in the cauldron. 

Freeman has an excellent style and left me wishing the book was much larger or that Freeman had written more books, I would be happy too read books on other subjects by him as his style was so good.

Humour runs through the whole book as does self depreciation, Freeman kept moving from the story to dash back in his past or the occasional step forward. Some of those dashes though were irrelevant and added nothing to the understanding of the situation or his frame of mind at the time and seemed to just be filler. However these diversions did not derail the narrative nor diminish the enjoyment of the book.

Still I felt the book could have been more and some of the events were rushed through with to little detail. Probably the result of too many years between the events and the writing them down. The story of the escape (from a military hospital) and the Dutch he met along the way who helped him is the real story and you can not but be amazed at the bravery of the Dutch civilians who risked not just their own lives but that of their family and even neighbours. 

It's well worth a read for sure but alas not the full purchase price as it's over just too quick and has little re-read value. Amazon has this on Kindle for £7.20 and Hardback for £15.63 and is published by Pen & Sword. I would recommend getting it from the Library if possible given the speed you will get through it.

I will give it 7 out of 10, really glad I read it but won't pick it up again.


  1. Nice review, thanks for sharing it. It is a well worn subject, but there are some amazing individual stories out there. Cheers, Paul :-)

  2. It is well worn, and as such the fact it was not really about the battle was possibly a good thing