Libby Prison Breakout by Joseph Wheelan
The Daring Escape from the Notorious Civil War Prison

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While many books have been inspired by the horrors of Andersonville prison, none have chronicled with any depth or detail the amazing tunnel escape from Libby Prison in Richmond. Now Joseph Wheelan examines what became the most important escape of the Civil War from a Confederate prison, one that ultimately increased the North’s and South’s willingness to use prisoners in waging “total war.”

In a converted tobacco warehouse, Libby’s 1,200 Union officers survived on cornbread and bug-infested soup, and slept without blankets on the bare floor. With prisoner exchanges suspended, escape and death were the only ways out.

Libby Prison Breakout recounts the largely unknown story of the escape of 109 steel-nerved officers through a 55-foot tunnel, and their flight in winter through the heart of the enemy homeland, amid an all-out Rebel manhunt. The officers’ later testimony in Washington spurred two far-reaching investigations and a new cycle of retaliation against Rebel captives.


About Joseph Wheelan

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Joseph Wheelan, a former reporter and editor for The Associated Press, has written five books, including Jefferson's War and Invading Mexico. He lives in Cary, North Carolina.
Published January 11, 2010 by PublicAffairs. 306 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Former AP reporter and editor Wheelan (Mr. Adams's Last Crusade: John Quincy Adams's Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress, 2008, etc.) fastidiously establishes the circumstances and conditions leading to the desperate actions of Union officers, held separately from enlisted men per co...

Jan 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Libby Prison Breakout: The Da...

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