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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cowardism and incompetence, balanced by heroism and loyalty., 24 Aug. 2005
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This review is from: Singapore Burning: Heroism and Surrender in World War II (Hardcover)
Colin Smith has produced an excellent, extremely readable account of what Churchill described as ' the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British History'. Always interesting, beautifully written, with, at its core, a compelling narrative based on individual, first-hand accounts of the impact on 'ordinary' (though many are most extra-ordinary) people, this book is hard to put down.
As regards the behaviour of the Japanese, once again we are left struggling to understand how an enemy, often courageous in the extreme, could also display such heartless cruelty towards those captured. In the Author's own words, 'perhaps even the Japanese do not know the answer to this'.
Although the book does contain a significant amount of 'behind the scenes' detail related both to contemporary political machinations and to military strategy, the account is never boring, and is always enlivened by frequent reference to the relevance of such data to subsequent events in Singapore. This is, in essence, the compelling story of a unique period in our Colonial history, and of the individual men and women involved. The tale is all the more remarkable when one considers that these events took place a mere 63 years ago. A superb read.
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