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An Evening with Ben Macintyre

Tuesday Oct 04 2022 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium, Streaming on YouTube

Join us for an evening with Ben Macintyre as he visits Winnipeg to discuss his new book Prisoners of the Castle: An Epic Story of Survival and Escape from Colditz, the Nazis' Fortress Prison (McClelland & Stewart) with host Robert J. Young. Co-presented by The Winnipeg International Writers Festival as part of THIN AIR 2022.

The event will be hosted live in the Atrium of McNally Robinson Booksellers, Grant Park and also available as a simultaneous YouTube streamBefore arriving, please review details of how to attend physical events here at the store.

From the bestselling author of The Spy and the Traitor, a definitive and surprising new narrative of one of history's most famous prisons--and the remarkable cast of POWs who tried to relentlessly escape their Nazi captors.

The myth of Colditz, the most infamous prison in history, has stood unchallenged for 70 years: prisoners of war, mustaches firmly set on stiff upper lips, defying the Nazis by tunnelling out of a grim Gothic castle on a German hilltop. Like all legends, that story contains only part of the truth. In Ben Macintyre's cliche-smashing new history, he offers a vision of Colditz previously unimagined, a story of much more than an escape, just as the prison's inmates were far more complicated than the cardboard saints depicted in post-war pop culture.

Bringing together the wartime intrigue of his acclaimed Operation Mincemeat and keen psychological portraits of his bestselling true-life spy stories, Macintyre has breathed stunning new life into one of the greatest war stories ever told.

Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for The Times (UK) and the international bestselling author of thirteen books including Agent Sonya, The Spy and the Traitor, A Spy Among Friends and Operation Mincemeat, which was the basis for a feature film starring Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.

The host for this evening, Saskatchewan-born, Robert J. Young, received his doctorate from the London School of Economics, and is currently Emeritus Professor of History and Fellow of United College at the University of Winnipeg. He is a recipient of the University’s principal award for Excellence in Teaching, and its principal award for Excellence in Research. He was also named Canadian Professor of the Year by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. The first of his 10 books was published by Harvard University Press, the most recent by the Winnipeg Free Press. His biography of one 20th century French statesman was awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s Ferguson Prize for the best book in non-Canadian history; and another biography of a French diplomat and historian received the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction at the Manitoba Book Awards. His debut novel, Another Spy for Paris, was published in 2018 by Signature Editions. His second novel, Murder and Music in a Minor Key, will appear in 2023 with At Bay Press.

See:

Prisoners of the Castle

- by Ben Macintyre

Hardcover $36.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $32.40

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the bestselling author of The Spy and the Traitor, a definitive and surprising new narrative of one of history's most famous prisons--and the remarkable cast of POWs who tried to relentlessly escape their Nazi captors.


The myth of Colditz, the most infamous prison in history, has stood unchallenged for 70 years: prisoners of war, mustaches firmly set on stiff upper lips, defying the Nazis by tunnelling out of a grim Gothic castle on a German hilltop. Like all legends, that story contains only part of the truth. In Ben Macintyre's brilliant, cliche-smashing new history, he offers a vision of Colditz previously unimagined, a story of much more than an escape, just as the prison's inmates were far more complicated than the cardboard saints depicted in post-war pop culture.

Colditz was a miniature replica of office-class society at the time, only far stranger: a lethal, high stakes boarding school surrounded by barbed wire, initially containing prisoners of all Allied nations, including Canada, but eventually only Britons and Americans, a heavily guarded cage with its own culture, eccentricities, and internal tensions. In intimate and compelling detail, Macintyre explores what happens to people when they are locked up without committing a crime and with no idea when or if they might be liberated. Colditz, then, is a tale of the indomitable human spirit, but also one of snobbery, class conflict, hidden sexuality, bullying, espionage, boredom, insanity, and farce.

With access to declassified archives, private papers, and never-before-seen photos, the author reveals a remarkable cast of characters, previously hidden from history: Indian doctor Birendranath Mazymdar, the only non-white prisoner, whose ill-treatment, hunger-strike and eventual escape reads like fiction; Florimond Duke, America's oldest paratrooper and least successful secret agent; Christoper Clayton Hutton, the brilliant inventor employed by British intelligence to manufacture escape aids for POWs, from maps hidden in playing cards to a compass secreted inside a walnut; and many others. 

Bringing together the wartime intrigue of his acclaimed Operation Mincemeat and keen psychological portraits of his bestselling true-life spy stories, Macintyre has breathed stunning new life into one of the greatest war stories ever told.