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River Kwai Railway: The Story of the Burma-Siam Railroad Paperback – 16 Sep 2005

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Conway Maritime Press; New edition edition (16 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844860213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844860210
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,343,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Major-General Clifford Kinvig is the author of River Kwai Railway and Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. He is a former Senior Lecturer at RMA Sandhurst and Director of Army Education.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a very badly written book. No original research is demonstrated,it is simply a hastily cobbled together account of secondary resources.
The author is not an historian having little experience of genuine research.
The result is an account that is very thin on fact but very fat on third rate sources.
As a novel it would not be worth purchasing, as a historical work it is not worth a passing glance on the book shelves.
The syntax is at times depressing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CAB Sanders on 6 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the best researched works about a topic the Japanese tried to cover up when the War came to an end.

Therefore there were very few sources from the Japanese side - like Auschwitz, records were destroyed. All credit therefore to the author for digging out what was left, and putting that on the record.

Not anti anyone , it tries to explain why the disaster occured, and why the strategic priorities for Japan`s Southern Army went wrong, leading to the worst disaster (in Burma) the Japanese Army ever experienced - since they could not re-supply their forces by rail in Burma, they starved, and were effectively wiped out.

The author draws parallels with Stilwell`s Ledo Road on the other end of the seesaw - equally a failure, at least that episode did not involve the deaths of 100`s of thousands of conscripted labourers.

Good for the seriously interested. Japanese should avoid, historians will learn.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. B. Jenkins on 9 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We bought this book before our trip to Thailand where we visited some of the places discribed in it.. It gave a good insight into the horrors these brave men suffered ..I cannot do it justice in this reveiw as I am once again moved to tears at the memory ,just as I was at Hellfire pass!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Incredible story, but not a very compelling writer. 4 April 2008
By C.J. Hustwick - Published on
Format: Paperback
Reading this book is a chore, as the author has almost no ability to write a compelling account of one of the most ambitious and brutal totalitarian undertakings of modern times. However, most of the raw statistics and data from the Burma-Siam Railroad are so interesting that even he cannot get in the way of this incredible story.

I think part of the problem lies in the fact that Clifford is a military historian and suffers from an all too frequent "laundry list" approach to ennumerating different battalions and minutiae that were relocated, shipped out, etc. The book literally drags for pages at a time while the narrative simply stalls.

Another annoyance is the author's painfuly obvious pro-UK and somewhat veiled anti-American tone; in the first chapter he takes some jabs at the yanks without giving them credit for much of anything in the Asian theater. It's the old argument that the only reason the Americans were able to do anything at all was because of our industrial capacity. That argument is insulting and been proven erroneous many times over -- and besides which, if that were the case than how do you explain Vietnam? But the Brits frequently have this problem and are known the world over for their elitism and pomposity.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating topic, difficult reading 16 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although one of my favorite movies of all time is "Bridge on the River Kwai," I knew that much of the details were fiction. That's why I purchased this book, hoping to learn -- as promised -- the real story behind the Burma-Siam railroad.
However, the book's prose is so bland and uninspiring that it manages to make an otherwise interesting story boring. There is little narrative here, the paragraphs are large and clunky and the comma-free punctuation will annoy readers.
That said, if you have a deep interest in and knowledge of the Pacific Theater in World War II, you might find this book more approachable.
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