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Railwaymen in the War: Tales by Japanese Railway Soldiers in Burma: Tales by Japanese Railway Soldiers in Burma and Thailand 1941-47 Hardcover – 2 Mar 2005

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: AIAA (2 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403932247
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403932242
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,162,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
A railway along the River Kwai is a sightseeing attraction of Thailand thanks to the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', which was based on a fiction. This book tells the true story of building the Burma-Thailand Railway by narratives of those who actually worked on the hard construction; Japanese railway soldiers and the employees of Japan National Railways, who were the devoted craftsman.

Their work on the Myitokyina line close to the battlefields on the India-Burma border,to keep trains running despite the persistent demolition of railway by British planes and guerrillas, are well described. And their retreat to Thailand fighting the hard rear guard action and trying to deceive the attack by planes.

The narratives are straight forward, often shocking and intensively moving. The full specification of the railway is useful as it has not been published alsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover
This certainly helps Westerners understand the Japanese better, as a previous reviewer states, and it will therefore be of interest to many. It lets us understand how incapable they are of understanding other people's suffering, and the cruelty they inflicted on those they regarded as subhuman. How proud they are of their great engineering achievement! That thousands died unnecessarily doesn't come into it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa0ab21f8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a917d74) out of 5 stars Human behavior 14 May 2006
By Nagai Kazutoshi - Published on
Format: Hardcover
During World War II, Japanese railway soldiers constructed the 415-kilometer (258 miles) Burma-Thailand railway, very ardous task deep in rugged mountains heavily infected by cholera and tropical diseases. Building the urgently-needed railway within fifteen months was a great engineering achievement, but one accomplished at the cost of unfortunate death of 12,656 prisoners of war, including 133 Americans, and 8600 local workers. Both Japanese soldiers and the prisoners of war worked in a punishing enviroment, facing almost continious rain, shortage of supplies and food. The Japanese officers and the Korean guards of the prisoners camps were under the intense psycological strains, caught between strict military orders and demands of humanity.

After Japan surrendered in August 1945, two railway officers and 43 men from the prisoners camps were hanged, through military crimes courts. A prisoners camp commander wrote in his will (abstrated)

'Under these most adverse conditions, I proceeded to perform my duty with selfless devotion to my country, as well as doing my best to improve and rationalise the situation in the camp. It was not in my power to prevent many precious lives being lost during the construction work because of such adverse conditions.

However Heaven did not favor us and we were defeated, and I am now to fade away'

This book tells, vividly and for the first time in English, the personal accounts of these railwaymen throughout the war.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a917fc0) out of 5 stars Misconception on the Burma-Thailand Railway A Reader 6 May 2006
By A Reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book is a wonderful addition to the English-speaking literature on the World War II which gives a fine impression of the young men of the Japanese Railway Regiment and their attitude to the life. It will help Westners to understand the Japanese better, and make better connections between the Japanese today and the Japanese then - however much we have all changed, there are a lot of misconceptions we can still have about each other, and this is sad. It is not suprizing that some of the Prisoners of War were able to get on well with the Japanese railwaymen, and and it is a pity that this is not better known, but such episodes will be known by the book.
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