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Tomorrow You Die [Large Print] [Paperback]

Andy Coogan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Paperback, Large Print, 1 Aug 2014 --  
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Book Description

1 Aug 2014
The oldest child of poor Irish immigrants, Andy Coogan was born on April Fool's Day, 1917. His amazing recollections of life in Glasgow's slums during the 1920s and '30s are told with humour and candour in Tomorrow You Die. They form the backdrop to a gripping war story that begins with jungle fighting against Japanese invaders in Malaya in 1942 and ends with the dropping of the Atom bomb just 20 miles from Andy's prisoner of war camp. As a young man, Andy was tipped for Olympic glory before war service interrupted his promising running career. He was later captured during the fall of Singapore in Britain's greatest-ever military defeat, marking the start of a three-and-a-half-year nightmare of starvation, torture and disease as a prisoner of war. Andy was imprisoned in notorious Changi prison before being transported to Taiwan, where he worked as a slave in a copper mine and was twice ordered to dig his own grave. Later taken to Japan, where he nearly died, Andy's athleticism and spirit allowed him to survive an ordeal that killed so many. From his poverty-stricken boyhood in Glasgow's Gorbals slums to the atomic wasteland of Nagasaki, Andy's life story is vividly recounted in Tomorrow You Die, revealing an epic tale that will shock, enthrall and inspire.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Large Print Books; Large type edition edition (1 Aug 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753153378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753153376
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"The PoW memoir to top them all" Scotland on Sunday "This outstanding memoir is more than a story of barbaric cruelty and the devastating futility of war. It's a humbling salute to the bravery of a generation and to the courage of a boy from Glasgow who encountered the worst of humanity and emerged a hero" Daily Record "If, as Solzhenitsyn wrote of another prison camp, the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man, there is no doubt which side won over Andy Coogan" The Herald "Sir Chris Hoy's stamina and determination are legendary, but he would be the first to admit he could take lessons in both from his Great Uncle Andy (Book of the Month)" Scots Magazine "Thoroughly inspiring ... if you have read and enjoyed The Forgotten Highlander or The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, then you will love this book. A tale of an extraordinary man in extraordinary circumstances" ARRSE

Book Description

An amazing, action-packed true story of survival as a prisoner of the Japanese during the Second World War --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartwarming and heartbreaking 22 Aug 2012
If ever there was a story that demonstrated the genorosity of the human spirit then it is within this book. The story is heartwarming as Mr. Coogan tells the story of his formative years and in particular how his passion for running would literally save his life when he was a prisoner of war in Japan during the Second World war.
His experience of being held captive in Japan is truly horrific yet he appears to emerge from this without bitterness. At times it is difficult for the reader to contemplate the extent of the torture he experienced at such a young age.
This book is timely in view of the recent success of the London Olympics and it amplifies that in order to survive and succeed in life a person needs to have self belief,a sense of humour, hardwork, the love of a family and a love of life.
It is unfortunate that the book is promoted primarily as a military book as I feel that it is an uplifting story that needs to be conveyed to people of all ages so no one forgets the remarkable bravery of people like Mr. Coogan.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read 29 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great read and an amazing story. Andy Coogan was plucked from civilian life where he was a gifted runner and worked as a painter in Glasgow and plunged into the maelstrom of the Second World War. He was unlucky enough to be sent to Malaya and fought in the shambolic retreat down the Malayan peninsula. After terrifying hand-to-hand fighting he walked the last 70 miles to reach the 'safety' of Singapore.

After his capture in Singapore he enters the deoths of hell in a copper mine that sounds like Dante's inferno. This is an inspiring survival story and I agree with previous reviewers about its "unputdownability". It rattles along and just when you think things can't get any worse --- they do.

It puts our every day moans and worries into perspective. What a man, what a generation.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-hitting account 17 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've known Andy for many years and had listened to many of his interesting stories previously, however the book portrays more vividly the brutality and suffering he endured at the hands of the Japanese guards. I've also visited the Thai-Burma death railway and had felt nothing could really compare with that, but the account of Andy's time at the Kinkasaki copper mine in Taiwan illustrates it was just as bad and he was lucky to survive.

I was concerned, with the sensational material involved and the involvement of a professional writer, that the book might be a bit hyped up and not fairly portray Andy's real reflections, but having read the book I recognise a lot of the memories and think Andy's life and essence as a person has been portrayed well - the humour and positive outlook, as well as the hard-times as a POW. There are a lot of interesting historical facts throughout the book that help illustrate the period and conditions that Andy lived in at the time.

A great read - highly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it was..... 27 Aug 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"You can't always tell a book by its cover" they say -and, as both other reviews have noted, the cover picture here might well have some think at first this is far more some "action" type war tale than it actually is. If so, the last key four words in the small print subtitle should start to set them right: "Prisoner of the Japanese". For anyone already (or "still"?) knowing at least an outline history of the WW2 in the Far East, they really say all that's needed on the sort of journey this book is going to take you on.

At it's heart, this is an inspiring tale of how the author's hard upbringing in the Glasgow Gorbals in the Depression years equipped him with the life skills and inner resilience to endure and survive his POW captivity. The turning point in his early life offered by a quite by chance opportunity to take up and excel in amateur athletics is one key to that tale, including his post war recovery from all the privations endured and the all too many horrors seen with his own eyes.

It's a tale told directly and well, with dark humour, reflection and key anecdotes that drive the story forward and draw you in. It's been a while since I found a "read" this hard to put down, though it's also fair to add it's not one for the faint-hearted - Coogan thankfully just tells it like it was, he doesn't do "sanitised".

Coogan is already in Malaya when Japan invades, so there is just one chapter of "military history" in its normal sense, as he sets his personal travails in the bigger picture of the chaotic fighting retreat down the Malay Peninsula and the final debacle at Singapore itself - including the initial massacre by the victors of up to 50,000 ethnic Chinese, often underplayed or air-brushed out altogether in many accounts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing 11 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An incredible tale about a man who should be a nationally know hero. The things he went through are horrendous and shocking you can't help but feel a fraction his pain. You will read things you couldn't imagine that will bring you to tears. An absolute must read.
Everyone should know Andy's story
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read 28 Aug 2012

This is a brilliant book a real page-turner that I just could not put down. I read it in two days it is so well written. Somebody should make this in to film. How any of these men survived is beyond me.

Andy Coogan's story is worth reading for its vivid details on life in Glasgow's tough slums during the depression alone -- never mind the terrifying fighting in Malaya and the years of torture, slavery and starvation and misery as a prisoner of the Japanese.

A truly inspirational read. I salute you Mr Coogan -- a remarkable man in his 95th year.
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