Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thompson's Lucky Star, by Brendan Gisby and Tony Thompson

George Thompson thought he was lucky having survived combat during World War II.  He was even luckier to survive 18 months as a prisoner of war in the German stalags.  When his camp was finally liberated by Russian soldier, he had to depend on that luck once again, in order to transition himself back into a normal life.  During his time as a prisoner, George kept a journal, giving us a first person account of the hellish conditions in the stalags.

I have always heard that writers should write what they know.  It would seem to reason, then, that Brendan Gisby knows that his family, like all families, is full of amazing stories that many people would love to know.  So, that is what Brendan often writes.  And when he does, it is brilliant and moving.  Even though George's journal reveals very little about his personal life, Brendan, and George's son Tony, have taken the transcripts of this journal and given it historical context.

While the book does have a more reserved, documentary tone, it is an excellent first hand account of just how terrible the POW camps were.  Weeks without food, lack of warm clothing, illness, death.  Horrors surrounded the prisoners.  And yet George bravely takes it in stride.  While he comments on the existence of such hardships, he never seems to complain very much.  It seems to me that he maintains and amazingly brave and positive attitude, despite being a prisoner for well over a year.

Because of it's short length, the book was a quick read, but one packed full of intense information.  History buffs will greatly appreciate this unique look into prisoner of war camps.  The book could also be a fantastic educational supplement to high school and college history courses or units covering the end of World War II.  All in all, I found this to be a tremendously interesting book, part autobiographical memoir, part history book, all awesome.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.



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