These stories are about prisoners who tried to escape. Spies and slaves, soldiers and civilians, politicians and criminals, all held against their will by guards, locks and chains, barbed wire or sheer stone walls.
There are many thousands of ways of escaping; almost all of them are dangerous. Digging a tunnel, climbing a barbed wire fence or throwing a rope from a roof, could all result in death or serious injury. Going through checkpoints with a forged pass, or impersonating a prison official, requires extraordinary cunning and an iron nerve. Escape plans like these need a great deal of time to prepare, but this is something most prisoners have more than enough of.