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185 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unbelievable book -- I am so proud to know the author well
I had the priviledge of reading the final manuscript of this book a few months ago. It was outstanding and I couldn't help feeling that there are so many riveting "stories" in this book (even if some of them are very harrowing), that it stands on its own special pinnacle amongst war histories.

Throughout it all, I marvelled at Alistair's fortitude, gave thanks...
Published on 14 April 2010 by Joyce Aiston

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, though provoking and humbling
I love books like this. They remind me why we owe so many people the gratitude of ensuring us freedom.
This is a gritty, poignant and deeply moving book about a man's struggle for life at the hands of his evil captors.
We get to know Alistair well as the book charts his journey from boyhood in Aberdeen, to the hell of concentration camps and on to his struggle...
Published on 4 April 2012 by Scarlet Black


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring read, 1 Mar. 2010
By 
This is an amazing story and one that should never be forgotten! I have made sure my children know all about Alistair's journey so they can appreciate the horrors of war and the determination of the human spirit. What an incredible man he is!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply thought provoking., 3 May 2011
Before reading this book I had some idea of the horrors endured by these young men, but not the appaling depth of the true suffering. My Grandfather's brother had been a PoW in the Far East and would never have a Japanese made item in his house or even ride in a Japanese car, having read Mr Urquhart's book I now fully understand why.
I was left very bitter and angry at the end as I read of the underhand way these men were dealt with by our own Government, after liberation sending them on a slow circuitious route home, presumably to give them some time to regain some weight thereby lessening the media impact of seeing walking skeletons, making them sign "gagging orders" to prevent them telling their story and even deducting food costs from their army back pay when they had been starved almost to death, and why? Because politicians saw the new, post Yalta, threat as the communist block and wanted Japan as a strategic base to defend against a perceived threat from the Chinese and the Russians.
The final insult is the refusal of sucessive post war Japanese Governments to fully apologise and recomepense these incredible men, and to attempt to play down the true scale of the crime committed.
As Eisenhower famously ordered filming and mass witnessing of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps "in order to be in a position to give first hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda", Alistair Urquhart is to be thanked for ensuring that the same is true for the horrors inflicted on their victims his captors and to frustrate those who would air-brush history for the sake of political gain.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 16 Mar. 2010
By 
D. N. Jones (Bridgnorth UK) - See all my reviews
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If there is just ONE BOOK you buy and read this year then make it THIS ONE!

May it serve to honor the memory of those who were murdered, butchered and slain by the Japanese Imperial Army.

Thank you for sharing with us this light into a dark and inhumane experience and may it help you to find better nights.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational read, 21 May 2012
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This is a profound story that was difficult to read but also difficult to put down. I read this book cover to cover in a day. Learning the truth about the atrocities of the Japanese during the war was both enlightening and disturbing and must have taken considerable courage for Mr Alistair Urquhart to re-live in the telling of his harrowing story. The behaviour of the British government is equally difficult to comprehend. What makes such a disturbing story immensely readable, however, is the story of triumph over adversity and the awe inspiring power of the human spirit demonstrated by Mr Urquhart in surviving the horrors of war. What a truly incredible inspirational man. Alistair Urquhart's story will stay with me forever. Highly recommend reading this book, it makes you appreciate what you have in life.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving tale of survival, 9 Mar. 2010
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Absolutely fascinating could not put it down, I have read and enjoyed almost all the decent war novels of the last ten years and this rates in the top three, would make an oscar winning film in my mind and the story richly deserves that wider audience in the meantime buy the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow, 17 Jan. 2012
I was given this at Christmas and was a little disappointed as it isn't my normal reading genre. However, once started it was difficult to put down. It is written in a naive and conversational style, and yet is compelling reading. Once started I was hooked.

Although most of us are aware of the second world war and have some notion of the various theatres of war. Personally I had only limited knowledge of what went on in the far east. Although this book has not set out to give a history of the war or even the events that led to it, or the escalation of Japanese intervention, the reader is left with no doubt about the conditions for the thousands of unfortunate prisoners of war in that region.

I have seen the film 'Bridge Over the River Kwai' a couple of times, but that makes existance in the jungle look more like a nursery school than reality. Alistair Urguhart is no hero and makes no pretence about being so. He is an ordinary guy who endured years of suffering at the hands of the Japanese. It is quite extraordinary to read just how bad things were. Just when the reader is enthralled and appalled by the atrocities, there is another one around the corner. How anyone can possibly survive this is beyond me.

This book is a must read, even if it is not your normal type of book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read...!!! A+++++, 31 Mar. 2010
By 
C. green ":) :) :)" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I read this as not your typical war book reader!! Im a 21 year old girl thats usual intrests are shopping and the usual!! and saw this an article of this in the mirror and felt compelled to buy the book and read...
OMG amazing, it makes all my every day little worries and moans seem so pathetic...
This man is an inspiration, i just wish people of my generation would pay more attention to the suffering and fight people went through with war and appreciate how easy we really have it...might stop young kids stabbing each other in the street and idiotic gangs that think they are "bad manz"....
I was compeltely unaware of the Japanese history and have since bought (to mention - rape of nanking) more books and i am utterly shocked at some of the history we never got to cover or hear about...!!!
Everyone should have a copy of this to read and see what these great heros went through..at the expense of Japense sadistic war demons....
Just god forbid nothing like this is ever allowed to happen again...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read, 8 Mar. 2010
This is a gripping, fascinating tale of survival that I read in one sitting, leaving me both inspired and angry - angry that this stoic young man who went through so much at the hands of his evil tormenters, the Japanese, only to be forgotten and thrown on the trash pile by the British government on his eventual release from captivity. Despite being packed with vivid detail of time, place, and history, this book races along at a cracking pace - you want to know what happens next to this poor chap, how he will deal with it, and how he has ever managed to live to the ripe old age of 90. I recommend this book to anyone, of any age, sex, or nationality, for we can all learn from this remarkable, honest story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, 14 April 2010
By 
K. Middleton "Karen and RICHARD" (Cardiff, Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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Thought provoking in a good way! I bought this book after reading about it on the internet and also basing my decision on a little known film called "To End All Wars" which is based on the real life experiences of another Scot called Ernest Gordon, Ernest was also a POW working on the death railway, the film conveyed the horror of his experiences but it didn't prepare me for the horrors described in this book.

The book starts off with Alistair describing his life before the war and then his experiences and the events leading up to his capture. We've all heard stories about how the Japanese dealt with prisoners but to have this first hand account made it even more truly horrific, instead of the cliche of forgiveness Alistair Urquhart has no forgiveness and it's only by reading this book you'll understand why.

The book is rather upsetting, not just for the torture, but the solitude, the pain of working in blistering heat on nothing more than a maggot infested rice ball and meagre water rations, losing five stone in weight and having tropical ulcers that would eat down to the bone whilst still being lashed and beaten into working on a railway, then being boarded onto a transport ship with no red cross on it, they were saved for the Japanese munition ships!

This book proves that the Japanese government has a lot to answer for and many apologies to make but the biggest surprise was they way our own government dealt with returning pow's, it turns out we have a lot to answer to as well.

As a footnote, I've been off work for the last two days on the sick and read this entire book yesterday, I'm still ill but have come into work today because Alistair Urquhart made me realise that if he can go through all he did for over 750 days then I can definitly make it into work with a slight stomach bug!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Book, 16 May 2012
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J. Thomson (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is a straight forward, no holds barred account of Mr Urquhart's horrific experience as a Prisoner of War on the "Death Railway" in Thailand/Burma during WWII. His story almost defies belief as to the horrors endured and Mr Urquhart's "luck" in surviving the starvation, diseases, dawn til dusk work and outrageous brutality of the Japanese, being sunk at sea by a US submarine and surviving the atom bombing of Nagasaki. More than once I had to dry my eyes at the sheer horrors endured but eventual salvation of Mr Urquhart. But that said Mr Urquhart still has nightmares and pain, more than 60 years after his ordeal. Everyone should read this book.
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