Prisoners of the British - Michael Foley

WITH the war in Afghanistan very much in people s minds, Michael Foley s new book enjoys a timely release. Prisoners of the British (Bank House Books) looks at the history of prisoners of war, from the 14th century, when Robert the Bruce s wife Elizabeth

WITH the war in Afghanistan very much in people's minds, Michael Foley's new book enjoys a timely release.

Prisoners of the British (Bank House Books) looks at the history of prisoners of war, from the 14th century, when Robert the Bruce's wife Elizabeth was held prisoner in the abbey at Barking, to Iraq 2003.

As Foley, of Dagenham, explains: "I have tried to be unbiased and to look at both sides of the argument."

Clearly, the author has researched his subject thoroughly.

He looks at the Napoleonic wars, when a number of prisons were built, the attempts to exchange prisoners between England and France, and a parole system in which French officers often lived normal lives in English towns.

The book moves on through the Crimean, to the Boer War and the two world wars, but this is more than just a list of prisons and conditions. Foley keeps it bright and readable by including many individual stories of the prisoners.

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And there are photos, including one of German PoWs farming in Hainault Forest. There were also camps at Stratford, East Ham and Wanstead Flats.

A book for those interested in military history.

- LINDSAY JONES