The Cooler King by Patrick Bishop
The True Story of William Ash, the Greatest Escaper of World War II

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The true story of an American fighter pilot's many famed escape attempts from German POW camps throughout World War II

When fighter pilot William Ash’s plane was shot down over France in 1942, he was captured by German forces and placed in a Nazi prison camp. But Ash, raised in Texas during the Great Depression, would spend the rest of the war defying the Nazis and striving to escape from every POW camp in which they incarcerated him.

Ash’s is a saga full of incident and high drama, climaxing in a breakout through a tunnel dug in the latrines of the Oflag XXIB prison camp in Poland―a great untold episode of World War II. Alongside William Ash is a cast of fascinating characters, including Roger Bushell, who would go on to lead the Great Escape, and Paddy Barthropp, a dashing Battle of Britain pilot who, despite his very different background, became Ash’s best friend and shared many of his adventures.  

By weaving together contemporary documents and interviews with Ash’s comrades, Patrick Bishop vividly recreates the man’s multiple escape attempts, while also examining the POW experience during the war, and analyzing the passion that drove some prisoners to risk death in repeated bids for freedom. The Cooler King is the story of one man’s extraordinary durability in the face of impossible odds, and stands as one of the most inspirational personal accounts to arise from World War II.

36 b&w photographs

About Patrick Bishop

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Patrick Bishop has reported from the front line of almost every major way of our era in his twenty-year career as a foreign correspondent. He has emerged as a highly regarded military historian. He is the author of Fighter Boys: The Battle of Britain, 1940 and The Hunt for Hitler's Warship.
Published March 15, 2016 by The Overlook Press. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War.