The 21 Escapes of Lt Alastair Cram

David M. Guss

13 June 2019
448 pages


A genuinely new Second World War story, The 21 Escapes of Lt Alastair Cram by David M. Guss is the gripping narrative of an intrepid Scottish soldier's audacious defiance and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds.

‘The greatest serial escaper of the Second World War’ – The Times
'Endlessly fascinating. Cram's story sizzles with adventure' – Giles Milton, Sunday Times

In November 1941 Lt Alastair Cram was taken prisoner in North Africa as a devastating tank battle unfolded as Operation Crusader struggled to relieve Tobruk. His capture began a four year-long odyssey as he passed through twelve different POW camps, three Gestapo prisons and one asylum. Determined to regain his freedom, he became a serial escapee fleeing his captors no fewer than twenty-one times.

In a saga of relentless determination, Cram, along the legendary founder of the SAS, David Stirling, masterminded the audacious 'Cistern Tunnel' escape from the Italian fortress Gavi - a thousand-year-old stronghold housing the most 'dangerous' escape risk prisoners. It became one of the most audacious – but little-known – mass escape attempts of the entire war. Thrillingly told, this is a record of stamina and courage against unfathomable adversity.

'Fascinating' – Daily Express

'An enthralling portrait of true courage' – Sunday Express S Magazine

Endlessly fascinating. Cram’s story sizzles with adventure and the author plays it for all it is worth. I found myself rooting for his hero at every scrape and turn.
The story of Alastair Cram is a remarkable one, perhaps richer for having remained untold for so long . . . a book that ranks among the best escape literature