on 19 February 2008
This book has been obviously put together with great respect for the subject, and considerable design flare. Jack's paintings and drawings are so evocative of the terrible conditions and inhumane treatment experienced on the Death Railway, the reader is left open-mouthed. Illustrations range from technical drawings of tropical ulcers which would grace a medical textbook, to heartrending pictures of torture. Photographic images can rarely be as powerful and moving as these paintings and drawings. The crowning achievement of the book is that the reader is taken on a journey where horrific experiences bind men together in comradeship and where human spirit triumphs.
on 11 March 2011
This book is a must have historical record of the treatment and lives of Japanese POW's in World War 2.
The original drawings by the author and artist, Jack Chalker, which illustrate the book, were hidden in pieces of bamboo from the guards in the camp and miraculously survived the war.
Jack Chalker has managed to find snippets of great humour throughout the book as he retells the harrowing story of his experiences.
on 24 May 2014
A picture says more than a thousand words. These drawings and paintings done under the horrific conditions of the Japanese prison camps which were building the Burma railway in 1942-5 were made on scraps of whatever could be found with home made drawing equipment and hidden by prisoners who knew they might be shot if they were discovered.
Along with the tiny diary notes they were put aside for 50 years while Jack Chalker got on with his life studying art and becoming an art college Principle and Fellow of the Society of Medical Arts.
I am so grateful that these amazing pictures and the quiet down-to-earth descriptions have now been published as a record of what men can do to other men.
Like Ronald Searle, Jack could do nothing about his situation except draw it.
on 7 March 2015
These events took place 70 odd years ago and perhaps in the mists of historical time, they get set aside. The book vividly recalls the horrors both in script and pictorially. It is also a testimony of heroism to those who suffered, who died and who survived such ghastly unimaginable treatment at the hands of nation, which abandoned its spirit of hospitality for war in which they suffered and for objectives defined by an elite and their egos. Unfortunately many of today's leaders simply have not learnt.
on 2 April 2016
Excellent. It just so happens that my paternal grandfather died of dysentery at Chungkai in 1943 so I find the cover picture of unusual interest, if I can put it that way, and I consider myself as extremely fortunate to be able to see where it all happened, but for those less directly affected it has got to be one of the defining pictures of World War II in the Far East.