Escaping with His Life – From Dunkirk to D-Day & Beyond (Pen and Sword, 2019) by Nicholas Young is an inspiring and thrilling account of Leslie Young, a British commando who was captured and escaped from a prison camp in Northern Italy.
This biography epitomizes service and dedication during the darkest moments of twentieth century history, World War II. It also shows the reader the human side of war, the resiliency of the human spirit and the British stiff upper lip, the grit of a soldier.
The book takes the reader on a journey filled with action and heartbreak as told in part by Young’s journal entries and his son’s descriptive and historically accurate narrative.
At times this reader felt as if the history lesson textbook was on the desk and the words blurred into a dry and drawn—out round of this-followed-that narrative. But this was the only drawback to this intriguing story.
The attempts of the author to enliven the story is sprinkled with pieces of the ingenuity of the time, like the bicycle brigade, for example. There is also depictions of the depredations of war upon humans, the land itself, and the civilians who struggle to survive the Nazi occupation.
Escaping with His Life opens with a touching and powerful poem written by an Italian poet, Pierre Luigi Felli. The poem is haunting and sets the book’s place historically as well as creatively. Felli’s last line, alludes to returning to the haunting places, “Years later, the return along those mountain pathways feeling the scent of memory.”
This reader was satisfied and pleased as Sir Nicholas’s account is fascinating and honors his father’s journey and those who fought for freedom from tyranny.