Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 14 April 2010
Thought provoking in a good way! I bought this book after reading about it on the internet and also basing my decision on a little known film called "To End All Wars" which is based on the real life experiences of another Scot called Ernest Gordon, Ernest was also a POW working on the death railway, the film conveyed the horror of his experiences but it didn't prepare me for the horrors described in this book.
The book starts off with Alistair describing his life before the war and then his experiences and the events leading up to his capture. We've all heard stories about how the Japanese dealt with prisoners but to have this first hand account made it even more truly horrific, instead of the cliche of forgiveness Alistair Urquhart has no forgiveness and it's only by reading this book you'll understand why.
The book is rather upsetting, not just for the torture, but the solitude, the pain of working in blistering heat on nothing more than a maggot infested rice ball and meagre water rations, losing five stone in weight and having tropical ulcers that would eat down to the bone whilst still being lashed and beaten into working on a railway, then being boarded onto a transport ship with no red cross on it, they were saved for the Japanese munition ships!
This book proves that the Japanese government has a lot to answer for and many apologies to make but the biggest surprise was they way our own government dealt with returning pow's, it turns out we have a lot to answer to as well.
As a footnote, I've been off work for the last two days on the sick and read this entire book yesterday, I'm still ill but have come into work today because Alistair Urquhart made me realise that if he can go through all he did for over 750 days then I can definitly make it into work with a slight stomach bug!!