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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Without having much prior knowledge of the POW experience at the hands of the Japanese I was recommended Daws' book as a must read. The detailed research undertaken together with his ability to engage the reader makes this book a true gem. I Particularly enjoyed the latter chapters which provide details of life after the war. Strongly recommended for anyone with an...
Published on 8 Jun. 2007 by Anthony Sutton

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, but doesn't live up to its promise
The author has conducted an incredible amount of research during several years, including interviewing large numbers of former POW:s at lenghth. This includes also a great deal of material on the Dutch POW:s, (as well as Australian, British and American). How disappointing then, that the book concerns mainly the Americans, shedding light on the other nationalities only...
Published on 24 Jan. 2008 by Herr Flick


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 8 Jun. 2007
By 
Anthony Sutton (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Without having much prior knowledge of the POW experience at the hands of the Japanese I was recommended Daws' book as a must read. The detailed research undertaken together with his ability to engage the reader makes this book a true gem. I Particularly enjoyed the latter chapters which provide details of life after the war. Strongly recommended for anyone with an interest in the topic or who would like to learn more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - but beware of the language, 19 May 2008
By 
This is a fine, worthy and I think brilliantly written work. The author deserves commending and such a work was long overdue. My only problem with it is the anti-British language often used by the American author. I was left with an impression that American and Australian POWs were great guys, while the British were a collection of snobs, parade-ground martinets or existed for the amusement of the Americans et al. This book is overly biased towards the minority of Allied POWs, namely Americans, whilst the author's sometimes insulting descriptions of British officers and men grate a bit. Here is an excellent example: pp.178-179 'The next day a Britisher turned up, Royal Air Force with a bristly moustache, asking about the dog in his British voice.' What kind of voice would he have? There are many other examples that I won't bore you with, but if you are a British reader (particularly those with bristly moustaches), read with caution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if there were 10 stars I would have given it, 11 Jan. 2009
By 
Mr. Pj Williams (cardiff uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Prisoners of the Japanese (Hardcover)
this book sucks you in, beats you up and spits you back out feeling enlightened but upset. you grow to love the cast of characters. you laugh when they do, you want to cry for them, but ultimately you want to see justice at the end. you will be left bereft

probably one of the best books I have read in a long time, one that illicits a physical response of pity, laughter, sadness, and anger. yes this book leans towards US personnel in its main characters but to cram them all in you would need a book running at a couple of million pages, and in response to the 3 star reviewer, this book is complete in that you get the view points you need in a 500 page book. if you were not japanese you got treated like an animal. even if you were in some cases.

anyway, stop reading this and buy the book. just make sure you have tissues for tears, pillow to punch, and plenty of food, you will be feeling hungry every ten pages
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 20th century War History, 7 May 2011
Based mainly on the accounts of US servicemen, Daws recounts the vilest of vile horrors that was the Japanese treatment of prisoners and civilians during the Second World War.
(`dispose of the prisoners as the situation dictates. In any case it is the aim not to allow the escape of a single one, to annihilate them all, and not to leave any traces')

The atrocities are depicted from first hand accounts, and include such obscenities as surgery performed on conscious prisoners, civilians burned alive, hospital patients bayonetted to death, or drowned; babies butchered...... an endless stream of barbaric cruelty.

The book is particularly good at describing the surviving POWs' continued suffering after the war : their great difficulties rehabilitating ; inevitable Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; markedly premature death rates. Their fate was to be neglected by their own governments: next to nothing was done for the soldiers; their abuse was hardly acknowledged,and paltry disability awards were made. For political reasons, recriminations against the Japanese were minimised. The relatively ineffectual War Crimes trials petered out after little retribution. Hirohito was not tried, and notoriously did not apologise.

For all the grimness of the subject, Daws maintains an engaging narrative style and has produced a satisfying and worthwhile history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gut-Wrenching Account of the "Forgotten" Victims of the Imperial Japanese Army, 9 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Prisoners of the Japanese (Hardcover)
Whilst I thought the study by Brian MacArthur, "Surviving the Sword. Prisoners of he Japanese 1942-1945", was a powerful enough indictment of the barbaric policies meted out to Allied prisoners of war by (especially) the lower ranks of the Imperial Japanese Army throughout their areas of occupation in the Far East during the Second World War, this book by Gavan Daws hits home even harder. What stands out clearly on each page is the indefatigable nature of his research, resulting in a relentless catalogue of wartime atrocities which more than deserve as much "air time" - which currently they simply don't get - as those which occurred at the same time in the European theatres of war. Not for nothing does the Allied campaign to retake Burma in 1945 still labour under the epithet "the forgotten war". His detailed accounts make one more than surprised that there were any survivors left alive to tell their tales. After reading this account, one's anger and even disgust knows no bounds at the mealy-mouthed "apology" for visits of Japanese high officials and even prime ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, compounded by an ill-disguised dumbing-down of our own annual services of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London, noted in Nicholas Barrington's fatuous memoir, "Envoy" (see my comments thereon).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, but doesn't live up to its promise, 24 Jan. 2008
By 
Herr Flick (Non anglo-saxon world) - See all my reviews
The author has conducted an incredible amount of research during several years, including interviewing large numbers of former POW:s at lenghth. This includes also a great deal of material on the Dutch POW:s, (as well as Australian, British and American). How disappointing then, that the book concerns mainly the Americans, shedding light on the other nationalities only through the experiences of the Americans. Therefore the scope of the book is scope smaller than the title suggests. This might be the fault of the publishing house however, as some "bright" editor perhaps thought the book would be easier to sell in the US this way. It does however disappoint, not only because further analysis of why the Dutch mortality rate was so much lower would be of interest, but also because first hand accounts of non-english speakers are not that commonly to be found - in english. The author has done the work, has the sources, but the material is not used, also concerning the British and Australians. Since one of the main interesting (and shocking) things shown by the book, was that the different nationalities, even though they were all POWs together, detested each other, it would be of interest to see what the other nationalities felt.

Another thing to note, is that just about everyone of the POWs interviewed and given a voice in the book were either enlisted men without any rank or civilians. Since the book often states or implies that the officers were rather worthless and unsympathetic characters, it would perhaps have been of interest to hear at least one account of an officer.

The author also has a tendency to like the colourful stories of his POW's too much, so that especially the tall background tales of some of them are reproduced with little critical thought, though this changes dramatically at the end of the book.

The author, to his credit, does not refrain from asking difficult questions, like why were the Americans the only POW group that killed each other in captivity, and why was there so little solidarity that at the end of the war a "trading to the death" system arose with little opposition? Even though the other nationalities aren't given much of a voice the author still makes some very accurate comparisons, both of the statistical and moral kind, and this is where the true worth of this book lies. There are other accounts of being a POW under the Japanes, but here the author uses his insight into the specifics in several POW camps, among all the nationalities over several years, to paint a bigger picture and not to gloss over that which should be exposed and condemned. Excellent.

The author clearly feels strongly about the subject matter, and I can't say I disagree with many of his arguments, moral or historical. The book does provide gripping (American) tales, and it is a good read. Sadly his incredible research could have given so much more.

If an editor considers an international edition: leave out most of the background tales of the POW's, they're a bit suspect anyway, and cut out much of that which concerns the homecoming and experiences after the war. Include instead first-hand accounts of the Dutch, Australians and British, mayby include something about the officers as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars shameful, 14 Nov. 2014
By 
another mick (west auckland co durham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prisoners of the Japanese (Hardcover)
well written accounts,have now ordered "the forgotten highlander"
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Prisoners of the Japanese by Gavan Daws (Hardcover - 6 Mar. 2006)
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