A truly shocking story...electrifyingly told by the journalist and historian Simon Parkin, whose breadth and depth of original research has produced an account of cinematic vividness ... Parkin skillfully draws the reader into the serendipitously rich environment in which Fleischmann, along with a constellation of some of the most brilliant artistic, philosophical and scientific minds of the day, suddenly found themselves.
Excellent ... Parkin has told his story with energy and flair. The book is not without minor flaws: the cast of characters is dizzyingly large, and at times the narrative is obscured by extraneous information, but these do not detract from Parkin’s achievement. The Island of Extraordinary Captives is a powerful tribute to the wartime internees, and a timely reminder of how much Britain gained from their presence.
Parkin recounts Fleischmann’s experiences in a brisk, vivid narrative which at times leans too heavily on the singularity of the inmates at Hutchinson in making its argument against indiscriminate internment ... Nonetheless, Parkin’s success in bringing this shabby corner of Britain’s wartime history to life is of more than historical interest.
Parkin’s account of the experiences of the internees is vivid and moving. The narrative sometimes becomes confusing, as he leapfrogs from one episode to another, but his book spotlights a sorry aspect of Britain’s war that deserves to be better known.
brings to light a truly extraordinary example of humanity at its best and worst in a country at war, sometimes with itself ... With copious and often heart-wrenching detail ... It is a cautionary yet inspiring tale, one that bears remembering.
Parkin illuminates the long ignored injustices of Britain’s World War II concentration camp policies by focusing on some of the prominent individuals confined at Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man ... The author’s choice to center the narrative on Fleischmann allows him to highlight both the cruel absurdities of the concentration camp and the resiliency of those imprisoned ... A deeply effective look at an important but rarely discussed aspect of World War II history.