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Prisoner of Japan Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Harold Atcherley was on the way to a successful career with the oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell when war broke out. Commissioned as an intelligence officer at the HQ of the 18th British Infantry Division he arrived in Singapore at the end of January 1942. Two weeks later he was a Prisoner of War. He began writing the diary in May 1942 and continued it until he was repatriated from Singapore in September 1945. Besides the first few months of captivity, which he recreates from memory, the only gap is between April and December of 1943 when he was working on the Burma/Thailand Railway. After the war he returned to Royal Dutch Shell and a career in public service. He was knighted in 1977.
Atcherley's diary focuses on the day-to-day privations and tedium of camp life and on his state of mind throughout it all. But he writes with both perspective and perception. As an officer, perhaps, he was in a better position than many others to know what was going on in the camp even though what passed for knowledge was often little better than rumour.Read more ›
I'm glad I read both books and have enormous sympathy for what the authors and thousands of others suffered on my behalf ( born 1945) but in the end I empathised far more with Urquhart than with Atcherley
Together with 7000 others from F Force Harold was a prisoner of war, and somehow survived for 43 months. He kept a diary of those days, except while working on the Burma-Thailand railway, and these make up the narrative of this book. They describe the incessant cruelty, the starvation, the heat, the bizarre food they ate to survive, and the discussions they held on the meaning of life and how to reconcile their present lives with the great dreams that they had held before the war.
Most of can never even imagine such existence, or how men could survive it, but some did. Among them were Harold and a young artist called Ronald Searle. His sketches of life in the camp and in the jungle are spread through the book. If anyone can only think of Searle as a drawer of impudent schoolgirls, take a look at his drawing of a prisoner dying of cholera.
Yet the book is not about despair, but triumph. In spite of all the Japanese obscenities Harold and those around him seem able to have kept up their spirits and kept their minds open, even if their bodies were restricted to existing in closed surroundings.
'A prisoner in Japan' is an inspiring memoir. Sir Harold - as he became in '77 - is still alive in his nineties,and still a powerful speaker. Please read this book; it is a unique story of a unique English gentleman.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting to read as my father went through the same experience for three and a half years.Published 4 months ago by C F
I have over the years read quite a few of these books and this one I feel drags on a bit the introduction tookme an hour to read and I am not a slow reader and the whle book just... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peefer123
A heart wrenching personal account, a must read not just for history buffs but for anyone interested.Published 8 months ago by Mr Ball
A FASCINATING ACCOUNT INTO THE LIFE AND LIVES OF POW'S HELD UNDER JAPANESE CAPTIVITY AFTER THE FALL OF SINGAPORE DURING THE SECOND WORLD, A MUST READ.Published 11 months ago by Nigel
A true story of extreme suffering, perseverance, hope, survival and loss during world war II. Let's not forget the sacrifices made, and the suffering of those involved. Read morePublished 14 months ago by UC
Brilliant read, really opens your eyes to the atrocity of the Japanese.Published 17 months ago by Ian George Mcleish