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|Print List Price:||£8.99|
Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Lucky Johnny: The Footballer who Survived the River Kwai Death Camps (Spider Shephard) Kindle Edition
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If only our youth of today had any idea of just how lucky they are it might just give them the manners and respect to think a little harder when they treat our country and our elderly with nothing but disrespect. The kids of today ought to be made to read stories like this.
Christened Henry William Sherwood his mother gave him the nickname Lucky Johnny due to his ability to get himself out of boyhood scrapes. Twenty or so years later though that nickname would seem like nothing more than a cruel joke after Johnny Sherwood became a prisoner of war when Allied troops surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore during World War II. This outstanding book gives the reader a harrowing account of Sherwood's experiences in the Japanese POW camps over the following three years. For much of this time Sherwood worked on the now notorious "railway of death" on the River Kwai in Burma. On reading his book we soon learn that whilst "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was a superb movie the cruelty of the Japanese guards that it depicted was, if anything, watered down as Sherwood describes acts of cruelty on a much greater scale, meted out both to his fellow POW's and to himself as well. Unfortunately it was not just the callousness of the guards that they had to face but also malnutrition because the prisoners were all fed extremely meagre food rations, which they found were barely sufficient to survive on. When you consider that they were also prey to life-threatening tropical illnesses, such as beri-beri and malaria, which were rife in the area it is clear that existence for the POW's was nothing less than a living hell.
Johnny Sherwood was not a writer, and because of this some of the dialogue in this book is a little weak. This though does not though diminish the power of his story, a story that should be read and hopefully learnt from. This is a superb read.
As far as I can tell this book was never written for publication. It is a first hand account written by Johnny, many years after the war, as a cathartic exercise to try and eliminate the endless nightmares he continued to have from his experiences. Apparently no-one really knew what he was writing at the time but it is his own story of his wartime experience. The style is simple but extremely readable. He finished the book in 1983 and died in 1984. When clearing out his house his grandson found the whole thing written down on paper in an old suitcase and it is he who has succeeded in having it published. He has done all of us and especially Johnny a great service by publishing it.
It is an outstanding book that everyone should read if only to understand the unbelievable hardships and cruelty that many of our forefathers had to go through in World War 2. It also displays the amazing endurance capabilities of the human being.
I had already read 'The Railway Man' with enjoyment and anticipated revelation. However, for me, 'Lucky Johnny' surpassed this and
deserves far greater accolades as both a writen story and as an example of determination and fighting against the odds. Just when you think this is merely a fight against the cruelty of jungle torture, the story moves up a gear to expose the horror or human survival on another level.
The struggle of this man and thousands of others who endured the same, should be exposed to school children throughout the land as an example of how cruel life (and people) can be, and to remind them of their own relative fortune.
This story deserves to be made into a film and one wonders why it hasn't been, particularly when so much rubbish is produced these days. Subjective I know, but 'Lucky Johnny' has one more bridge to cross. Let's hope somebody in the Movie world agrees...?
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