13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Amongst the best on this subject to date.,
This review is from: Surviving The Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942-45 (Paperback)
As the 60th anniversary of VJ Day approaches, books on all aspects of the war in the Far East seem to appear on the shelves of high street book sellers. I can honestly say, I have read a great many of these in the last few months and this excellent work by Brian Mac Arthur ranks amongst the best to date.
There is no doubt that any member of the British or Allied forces who had the mis-fortune to be taken prisoner by the Japanese suffered in one way or another. Some suffered more than others. Many as we now know, did not live to tell the tale of their suffering or experiences and death was I am ashamed to say, was a merciful release from the agony and torture of their life in captivity.
The author consulted over 150 diaries of ex prisoners of war and spent an unbelievable amount of time delving into the depth of the archives to research what it was really like, in the notorious Japanese prison camps and along the many hundreds of miles of the infamous "Death Railway".
As one would expect, the subject of torture and deprivation is covered in great detail, however the reader is also treated to a fascinating insight into the inspirational way s in which the men boosted their morale - they entertained themselves with camp concerts, sporting events and education courses, however it is the most resourceful way in which they made improvised medical equipment and drugs and performed life saving surgery that I found the most remarkable.
Many readers will be shocked at what they read and once again, many will also ask the question, "how could another human being treat their fellow men like this?" Besides being an interesting read, this book with its superb black and white photographs and excellent maps on the inside covers, will provide an ideal source of reference, however it will also serve as memorial to the brave men who suffered in the cause of freedom many decades ago.