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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good down to earth approach to this subject., 15 Jan 2014
By 
Mr. G. Pearson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor on the River Kwai: The Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway (Hardcover)
I am currently studying this subject of the Burma Railway. Have now read 6 war diaries. Reg Twigg clearly describes the conditions and the treatment also mentioned in other books. It is good to see a private describe the working conditions. There are a lot of books on the Officers point of view . But few Officers actually worked on the railway. Very few privates survived the work to write a book. Very worthwhile reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best WW2 Railway of Death account to date, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Survivor on the River Kwai: The Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway (Hardcover)
In 1941 I was born. In the 1950s-60s I read all the available PoW paperbacks. In September 2013 I headed for the River Kwai, not to follow up an earlier visit to “the bridge”, nor to spend time in Kanchanaburi’s well-kept war cemetery contemplating the ‘then and now’ – but on a personal nature photo safari with my Thai wife and relatives. I also, by chance, took along the hardback edition of the book.

Do not be confused by an author’s name on the cover (Reg Twigg), followed by an Author’s Note (Clive Medway). Clive is Reg’s father and Clive is a gifted raconteur. Numerous monochrome plates supplement the book, featuring both photos of life (to use a euphemism) on the 1940s “Railway of Death” as the camera saw it, and artistic impressions as others remembered it. The caption to the portrait of Nipon’s ultra-violent Lieutenant Usuki by page 83 helps relieve the reader’s pent-up feelings by adding “he was executed after the war”. A sadistic guard nicknamed “The Silver Bullet”, who killed Reg’s close mate Harry, also earns a place of honour in the rogues’ gallery, albeit flanked by comrades.

Medway’s excellent prose alternates with sheer British army profanity, the content of which is better imagined than quoted! At the outset, the reader might be forgiven for feeling this book is more of a biography than a story confined to the Japanese Burma railway atrocities – but if you want a clear picture of Twigg’s WW2 Britishness, stick with it, for Medway will get you by troop vessel to Singapore (“Twigg! … It was Major Bowley. “I’ve left my tommy gun in the golf course clubhouse. Go and get it.”- in the midst of a battle!). The narrative excellently reflects the chaos that led to Reg Twigg unwillingly helping the Japs construct an essential supply route from Thailand to Burma. Rather unsportingly, the Allies felt obliged to obliterate the railway in their own interests, so that Twigg’s ”first mosquito” chapter is more than just a passing reference to an insect vector of malaria! As a salute to those Europeans, Australians – and especially Asians – forced to slave to the benefit of a nation that eventually felt the might of humankind’s first atomic bomb, it will be difficult to better this book. Down on the Kwai, looking for wildlife, I now pack my HD edition of Reg Twigg’s “adventures” safely down inside my rucksack - among my cameras and lenses of Japanese manufacture. Do buy the book for reading during your ‘yasume’. It’s the best of its kind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family lived a few doors away same schooling as children knew all the family brilliant life story sorry he died two days before, 19 July 2013
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This review is from: Survivor on the River Kwai: The Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway (Hardcover)
Very moving life story proud to have known the family.
Well worth a read a good sense of the reality of a terrible war
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survivor on the River Kwai., 27 May 2013
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janeb (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor on the River Kwai: The Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway (Hardcover)
This book is excellent reading. I started to read it and couldn't put it down - and didn't until around 3.30am one morning. It gives a clear insight into the awful conditions that POW had to endure. This book should be a must read for all children so that they know and remember what our soldiers endured in WW2.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great thought provoking book, a must read!!, 22 Sep 2014
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Absolutely great book couldn't put it down once I started it. I'd never read anything about this area of WW2 usually stick to books about the war in Europe but after reading about the POW in Europe wanted to find out more abou those further afield, and I was not disappointed. A really thought provoking book about a man who survived the terrors of being a POW on the river Kwai and went on to build a life afterwards, when you have finished this book you will want to find out more and all you will have is admiration for the men who became POW's and fought to survive against the odds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 29 July 2014
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Being from Leicester myself, the book was very poignant. very well written and an interesting insight, although I am sure the reader is protected from the true horrors of a prisoner of war of the Japanese. The photographs at the end in some way say more of the mistreatment than the biography.

I read this as a foil to the Railway Man as I wanted to read another biography of the atrocities of the Burmese railway. Both are excellent.

Thoroughly recommended, but read a little like a narrative as opposed to the harrowing biography that it is.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best war memoirs I've read, 22 May 2013
This review is from: Survivor on the River Kwai: The Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway (Hardcover)
Fans of military history or war memoirs must read this book. An excellent and honest account of one soldier's life growing up in pre-WW2 Britain, then going off to fight in WW2, and later as a POW under the Japanese. It far more gritty and honest than the usual pious accounts - from chasing prostitutes in singapore to stealing food in prison camp. A real page-turner
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4.0 out of 5 stars enthralling account of the atrocities, 18 Jun 2014
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I've recently visited Hellfire Pass and the cemeteries, bridge, etc and its an incredibly moving experience. When I returned I decided to find out more about the building if the railway and this is a brilliant account. The writing is very good helped of course by a sad, tragic and fascinating story. Difficult to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, 12 Jun 2014
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Fascinating read, I just couldn't put the book down. I am still left dumbfounded as to how he survived after all the terrors he went through. He is one strong guy! I have a lot of respect for these POWs who had to endure dreadful events and its very sad that many didn't survive. I think its great that they are able to tell their story however painful it is as the world has right to know. Equally I am disgusted by the treatment of the surviving POWs by our own Government.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 7 Jun 2014
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A outstanding book.heart breaking at times.Couldn't put it down,glad it was published.Didnt know a lot about the subject before so of great interest..Rest easy Tommy Atkins.
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