In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, several of Britain's greatest footballers were interned in a brutal German prison camp at Ruhleben, near Berlin. Among them was Steve Bloomer, the prolific England striker widely regarded as the best player of his generation. Surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, living in squalor and on meagre rations, and with their families and freedom far out of reach, Bloomer and the others found salvation in what they knew best - football.
They bartered for balls, marked out pitches, and formed the Ruhleben Football Association, organising league and cup competitions involving hundreds of players and watched by thousands of spectators.
The conditions at Ruhleben - a former horse racing track - were appalling, with around 4,500 men packed into 11 filthy stables. Food was scarce, the guards were cruel, and the commandant was incompetent. Gradually, though, as the Great War for Civilisation raged around them, Bloomer and his fellow prisoners established some order within the confines of the prison camp.
This is the true story of how the prisoners used the game of football to survive, and how some of them used it to escape.
Prominent footballers in Ruhleben prison camp:
Steve Bloomer: England, Derby County, Middlesbrough
Fred Pentland: England, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough, QPR, Brentford, Stoke, Blackpool, Halifax Town, Small Heath (Birmingham City)
John "Jack" Cameron: Scotland, Queen's Park, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur
Sam Wolstenholme: England, Everton, Blackburn, Norwich City
John "Jack" Brearley: Tottenham, Everton, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Notts County
Edwin Dutton: Germany, Newcastle United
Percy Hartley: Preston North End, Huddersfield Town, Exeter City
Walter "Wattie" Campbell: Everton
The book contains more than 30 photographs and illustrations.
"The Real Escape to Victory".