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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enough to make any Britisher angry!, 14 Aug 2007
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This review is from: The Battle For Singapore: The true story of the greatest catastrophe of World War II (Paperback)
Another reviewer remarks that the author of this vividly-written history 'is angry' and that 'it would have been nice to have a bit more from the Japanese side.' Peter Thompson's book is enough to make any Britisher angry, not necessarily because of the apparent 'incompetence, bungling and petty wrangling' of the politicians and generals charged with defending Malaya and Singapore, but certainly because of his effective reportage of how vile the attackers and occupiers were. I was born in 1938 in Cambridgeshire and, whilst having no direct knowledge of what happened to our people in Singapore, I was brought up to be aware that the Japs had been pretty awful to the men of The Cambridgeshire Regiment and others. What I never knew (or what I may have forgotten being told) is that it wasn't only the fighting men and the Colonial administrators who got it in the neck (and many other parts of their bodies): it was also the wounded, the nurses, the Chinese, the Malays and anybody else that Emperor Hirohito's men took a dislike to. I am pleased that Peter Thompson has reminded those who have forgotten and told those who have never known that, regardless of what one thinks of the British Empire (and I am proud of it), the Japanese Empire was a vicious regime bent on beating into submission all that were not Japanese. I am not interested in 'a bit more from the Japanese side': as far as I am concerned the defeat of the Japanese at the end of World War II was thoroughly deserved and that the thanks of all of us should be directed posthumously to President Harry S. Truman for ordering the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thereby saving the lives of many of our soldiers, sailors and airmen, and ending the suffering of the survivors of Singapore and countless millions in other areas of Asia.

My late father wouldn't buy Japanese goods because of what had happened to the Cambridgeshires. To my shame, my house is full of Jap 'stuff'!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Feb 2010 16:08:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Feb 2010 16:09:01 GMT
Tim62 says:
It is worth pointing out here I think, because my own earlier review seems to have been misunderstood by this reviewer - and I apologise for not being clearer - that a proper understanding of the magnitude both of the British defeat and the Japanese victory would have been enhanced by reference to Japanese historic records. 60+ years after the event, it does not really do to write history merely from one side's perspective, in my humble opinion.

And no, this is not some liberal relativist nonsense about both sides being 'equally to blame'. The Japanese imposed a morally appalling regime on those they conquered. But conquer (at least in the beginning) they did. I think if we are interested in the fall of Singapore, we owe it to ourselves to work out why.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2010 12:48:23 BDT
Essex Girl says:
For anybody interested in 'the other side', try Masanobu Tsuji's 'Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat'. He was the leading Japanese tactician during the Malaya Campaign. His version, however, ends before they began slaughtering the Chinese (and similarly, his account of the fighting at Parit Sulong omits any reference to the massacre that followed the Japanese victory there.) For those interested in the occupation, there is a good account by Paul Kratoska available (I think it's called something sensible like 'The Japanese Occupation of Malaya').

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jun 2010 09:45:47 BDT
Thank you, Tim!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jun 2010 09:46:11 BDT
Thank you, Essex Girl.
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