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4.5 out of 5 stars17
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on 10 November 2009
I recently finished reading "Surviving the Sword" an account of the horrors suffered by Allied PoWs at the hands of the Japanese during WW2 and encountered the name of Weary Dunlop. From that moment on I had to know more about this amazing man who had saved hundreds of men from death in the prison camps.

I've just finished reading his diaries and would wholeheartedly recommend them as a fantastic insight into the horror of the world the prisoners found themselves in and the salvation that Weary Dunlop brought to so many. The diary is written in a staccato style and does not flow as a normal historical account would, however it was written at a time where diaries were banned by their captors and by someone who had so very little time.

The impression you are left with is of a compassionate doctor and a disciplined soldier who never considered himself to be a hero, but just a professional man doing what was required at the time. His humour, compassion and grief at the losses suffered are exquisite and as the realisation dawns on you about just how far he went to fight for every prisoner you realise what an incredible man he was.

I have just ordered his biography and will write a review of that once I have read it. I would recommend this book absolutely, for it shows humanity in the darkest places and shows the reader just what a true hero is. God bless Weary Dunlop
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on 30 July 2010
Edward "Weary" Dunlop, born in Australia 1907, studied pharmacy and medicine before going to the UK for post-graduate study. He was in the UK working as a surgeon when WW2 began, was posted to Palestine 1940 and later to Java February 1942 ... becoming a prisoner of the Japanese on the fall of Singapore. These, his war diaries, are edited versions of the diaries he kept as a senior working doctor in Burma and Siam, eg on the Burma-Siam railway.

It's a terrific multi-faceted book, repetitive at times insofar as the grind of daily life shows in medical, budgeting and camp management detail, but the reality of men living in dreadful conditions is the central theme, with the story told via a courageously intelligent "Weary".

There are innumerable insights eg into the brutality of Japanese and Korean guards, the struggle against malnutrition and disease, the sustaining of hope through education and entertainment programs. There were times when my breath was taken away by the lyrical eloquence of the author as he described the beauty of the jungle and wildlife. There were times when I cried to read of another beating that, for the author, might have ended in death.

Wonderful as the book is, at 450 pages it's long and best embarked on by those keen on Burma/WW2 history and/or medicine. It would have been useful if there was a clearer map, and I never did understand where the POWs got their money from!
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on 25 June 2010
My father himself died on the Birma railway. I've been there for four times.
Also the memories of sir Dunlopp was told there.
My wish that freedom will come all over the world. I told my story to schoolchildren in the Netherlands.
Thank you.
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on 5 December 2010
My husband is reading this book, but he doesn't "do" book reviews on Amazon, so I thought I'd give it a go. He's been immersed in this book for days, reading aloud passages from it to me, amusing, poignant and depressing. He's been doing quite a bit of research on this topic because his father died in a Japanese POW camp in Thailand, and this book provides a lot of detail information on a daily basis from the point of view of a camp leader and doctor in Java and Thailand.
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on 18 November 2012
The pictures by Chalker shown the shocking issues of this time and area of WWII and the humanity of an amazing surgeon. Essential reading for historians and FEPOW descendants with a strong stomach.
As someone who grew up with elderly relatives who were totally anti Japanese this helps you understand their life view even though the world and individuals have moved on.
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on 30 June 2013
This book is so real that you really feel like you've gone back in time to the 2nd world war era.
Written from his own diaries, in amazing detail, you can easily imagine that it was written today
about current events.
Best book Ive ever read.
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on 7 May 2014
What an amazing man Dunlop is. During the most difficult time ever he managed the most amazing medical practices without hardly anything at his disposal
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on 7 September 2015
The book is worth reading if you are really interested in what happened to POWs in the Far East under the Japanese and if you are wanting to glean an extra bit of information about the topic. It is not a book for beginners. It is a diary, not a history book written by an historian. Furthermore, I got the feeling that it missed a lot out. Did Dr Dunlop self-censor when writing his diary? Did his publishers remove stuff?
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on 26 August 2011
A riveting account of what those brave men when through in the dark days of the war in the far east
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on 2 July 2015
Amazing,moving book of the events we don't really know a lot about, I don't recall being told about this during history lessons future generations must be aware of what the soldiers endured under japanese capture in the 2nd world war
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