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  • Tamsin S

BOOK REVIEW 'Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell?' by Horace Greasley

Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell? By Horace Greasley is the story of a 20 year old man from Leicestershire who was called up to the war but spent 5 years of it in POW camps. He is a bit of a daredevil who breaks out of the camp multiple times to meet a local girl he has fallen in love with. She helps him smuggle radio parts into the camp where a fellow prisoner builds a radio so the soldiers can get news of the war which boosts their morale. He also smuggled in extra food from the forest- rabbits and vegetables.

The book does go into some quite graphic detail of the brutality of the Germans’ treatment of the POW’s but also the bravery of those who stood up to it. It is another story of the determination and resilience of the human spirit.

The takeaway moment for me was when Horace had invited his fellow prisoner on one of his escapes into the forest and they both contemplated making a run for it and not returning to camp. However they came to the conclusion that despite their continued suffering they were needed by the other prisoners, Horace was boosting morale significantly with his extra food and his radio and Flapper, his friend, was his voice of reason, telling him when his latest ideas were or weren’t feasible, stopping him getting carried away- they recognised that they had a purpose which transcended their suffering. This resonated deeply with me - possibly something I have always known but at this time it came to the surface- that maybe despite all I have had to endure in my life I have also been given gifts which may serve a higher purpose.... Well worth a read, no spoilers but has a very sad twist at the end. I think there are plans for this to be made into a movie.

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