'Endlessly fascinating. Cram's story sizzles with adventure.' Giles Milton, Sunday Times
A genuinely new Second World War story, The 21 Escapes of Lt Alastair Cram is a riveting account of the wartime exploits of Alastair Cram, brilliantly told by the American author, David Guss.
Cram was taken prisoner in North Africa in November 1941, which began a long odyssey through twelve different POW camps, three Gestapo prisons and one asylum.
He became a serial escapee - fleeing his captors no fewer than twenty-one times, including his final, and finally successful, escape from a POW column in April 1945.
Perhaps the most dramatic of his attempts was from
Gavi, the 'Italian Colditz'.
Gavi was a maximum-security prison near Genoa for the pericolosi, the 'most dangerous' inmates because of their perpetual hunger to escape. It was here that Alastair met David Stirling, the legendary founder of the SAS, and cooked up the plan for what would become the 'Cistern Tunnel' escape, one of the most audacious but hitherto little-known mass escape attempts of the entire war.
A story of courage in the face of extraordinary odds, it is a testament to one man's dogged determination never to give up.
David M. Guss is a writer and anthropologist who has lived and worked in various parts of Latin America and Europe. In addition to his anthropological work, Guss is a published poet and translator.
Fascinated with escape literature since childhood, he was introduced to prisoner-of-war escapee Alistair Cram's widow, Isobel, and given full access to his papers, including the wartime journals on which his book The 21 Escapes of Lt Alastair Cram is based.
He lives in the United States.
Endlessly fascinating. Cram's story sizzles with adventure and the author plays it for all it is worth. I found myself rooting for his hero at every scrape and turn.
Giles Milton, Sunday Times
The story of Alastair Cram is a remarkable one, perhaps richer for having remained untold for so long . . . a book that ranks among the best escape literature
An enthralling portrait of true courage
Sunday Express S Magazine
An extraordinary story, vividly told.
Reads like a John Buchan novel.
History of War
[A] masterful account . . . Harrowing and deeply touching 21 Escapes pays homage to an inspiring figure and the determination of the human spirit.