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The Man Behind the Bridge: Colonel Toosey and the River Kwai (Bloomsbury Academic Collections: Japan) Hardcover – 1 Jan 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury 3PL (1 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780939604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780939605
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,098,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A first class work of history' --Lloyds List

About the Author

Peter E Davies has written or co-written nineteen books on modern American combat aircraft, including the standard reference work on US Navy and Marine Corps Phantom II operations, Gray Ghosts. He is based in Bristol, UK.


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent. Covers not just Colonel Toosey, but the reasons for capitulation, why the Japs had to build that railway, and a whole lot more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a gift for a friend who is very interested in the war in the far east. He rates the book very highly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I got this book for my mum as it has ... 28 Oct. 2014
By Martine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book for my mum as it has an interview with my grandfather in there. A piece of history that he will be in forever. The torture these men had to go through is well outlined and the way it is written keeps you going.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Information on the book 12 July 2005
By T. bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Colonel Nicholson character (in the movie the Bridge over the river Kwai) is based on the allied camp commander, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey, who was a remarkable officer by any standards.

Awarded the DSO for heroism during the defense of Singapore, he refused an order to join the evacuation so he could remain with his men during captivity. Under the Geneva Convention, it was forbidden for prisoners of war to do any work of use to the enemy. Building the bridge might be construed as collaboration but there was no alternative. Toosey, from the outset, understood that the only real issue was to ensure that as many of his men as possible should survive. Under the circumstances, he achieved this to a remarkable degree. In the hellish conditions of the camp, he worked courageously to ensure that as many of his men as possible would survive. He endured regular beatings when he complained of ill-treatment of prisoners, but as a skilled negotiator he was able to win many concessions from the Japanese by convincing them that this would speed the completion of the work. Behind their backs, however, he did everything possible to delay and sabotage the construction without endangering his men, and also helped organize a daring escape, at considerable cost to himself. For his conduct in the camp, he won the undying respect of his men.

One of a number of Allied POW's, Toosey was in charge of his men from late 1942 through May 1943 when they were ordered to build two Kwai River bridges in Burma (one of steel, one of wood), to help move Japanese supplies and troops from Bangkok to Rangoon. In reality, the actual bridge took 8 months to build (rather than two months), and they were actually used for two years, and were only destroyed two years after their construction - in late June 1945. The memoirs of the 'real' Colonel Nicholson were compiled into a 1991 book by Peter Davies entitled "The Man Behind the Bridge."

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After the war, he showed great generosity of spirit by saving the life of Colonel Saito, second in command at the camp and a relatively decent officer, when he spoke up for him at the war crimes tribunal. He worked for the veterans all his life, and became President of the National Federation of Far Eastern Prisoners of War.

Toosey returned to Liverpool and resumed his career in banking.

He refused repeated requests by the veterans to speak out against the film, being much too modest to seek any glory or recognition for himself. However you will find his achievements documented in a book by Professor Peter Davies entitled "The Man Behind the Bridge".

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Extensive photos:

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Other books on the building:

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Extensive 27 page PDF file on the building of the bridge:

[...]

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13,000 prisoners of war died while building the Burma-Thailand Railway for the Japanese.
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