Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East, 1942-45

Surviving the Sword Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East During World War II there were few fates that could befall a soldier so hellish as internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp To this day many survivors most of whom are in their eighties still c

  • Title: Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East, 1942-45
  • Author: Brian MacArthur
  • ISBN: 9781400064137
  • Page: 212
  • Format: Hardcover
  • During World War II, there were few fates that could befall a soldier so hellish as internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp To this day, many survivors most of whom are in their eighties still cannot talk about their experiences without unearthing terrible memories Surviving the Sword gives voice to these tens of thousands of Allied POWs and offers us a powerful reDuring World War II, there were few fates that could befall a soldier so hellish as internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp To this day, many survivors most of whom are in their eighties still cannot talk about their experiences without unearthing terrible memories Surviving the Sword gives voice to these tens of thousands of Allied POWs and offers us a powerful reminder of the terror and depravations of war and the resilience of the human spirit In this important book, Brian MacArthur draws on the diaries of American, British, Dutch, and Australian Fepows Far Eastern prisoners of war , some of whose recollections are published here for the first time These soldiers wrote and kept their diaries, in secret, because they were determined that to record for posterity how they were starved and beaten, marched almost to death, or transported on hellships how their fellows were summarily executed by guards or felled by the thousands by tropical diseases and how they were used as slave labor most notoriously on the Burma Thailand railway, as depicted in The Bridge on the River Kwai The diaries excerpted in this book make plain why the Fepows believed that their brutal treatment by Japanese and Korean guards was, literally, incomprehensible to those who did not live it The prisoners whose stories appear here risked torture and execution to keep diaries and make sketches and drawings that they hid from the guards wherever they could, sometimes burying them in the graves of lost comrades The survivors narratives reveal not just a litany of horrors, but are a moving testament to the nobler instincts of humanity as well, detailing how the POWs prevailed over horrible conditions, even finding or creating a precious few creature comforts and sustaining the rudiments of culture, learning, and play Forced into solidarity by inhuman conditions, the soldiers showed incredible compassion for one another, improvising ingenious ways to care for the sick, boost morale by subtly mocking their jailers authority, or even turn meager rations into the occasional feast Countless thousands died in Japanese prison camps during World War II Those fortunate enough to emerge from their ordeal were never the same again Surviving the Sword at last fills a notable historical gap in our understanding, while also commemorating and memorializing the Fepows struggle and sacrifice.

    681 Comment

    • Stephen Douglas Rowland says:

      Tepid, and mainly focusing on British soldiers. Who cares? AMERICA.

    • Maggie says:

      This is a very well written history of the prisoners held by the Japanese in Asia during World War II, most of which were British, Australian, and Scots. There was a much small contingent of Americans, of which my mother's first cousin, Louie, was one. He died at the hands of the Japanese after surviving the Bataan Death March and several years in POW camps, but died being transported by ship to Japan where he no doubt would have worked in a mine or factory had he not expired on the trip across. [...]

    • Dachokie says:

      wow , July 3, 2008Upon reviewing the several hundred books in my library on World War II, I noticed my reading was skewed heavily to the European Theatre (particularly the Eastern Front) I felt this book was a good start to creating more balance in my studies. With a firm understanding of Japanese brutality during the war ("The Rape of Nanking" illustrates this very clearly), I felt I needed more than the Bataan Death March, hari kari and suicide pilots to better understand the Japanese disdain [...]

    • Claire says:

      An extremely moving and very graphic account of the harrowing experiences of the British, Australian, American and Dutch servicemen taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Far East during World War Two. This is a fascinating story of courage (both moral and physical) and of survival - this book demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit, and the strength and determination of these remarkable men, only some of whom survived the war, against the most appalling odds and despite the horiffic trea [...]

    • Sarah Crawford says:

      If you ever wanted to read about Japanese run POW camps, then this is the book for you. The book is filled with details about the camps run for the Allied soldiers taken prisoner during the war. It also contains a lot of details that can easily prove very upsetting to the reader. I would give a BIG warning about the gruesome factor for this book.It details events at specific camps, but also has various thematic elements. Some of the topics include Changi; the Burma Railroad; the Bridge on the Ri [...]

    • Matt says:

      Great book, tugs at my almost non existent heart strings! Covers everything from the very depths of brutality from their captors, the dishonest amongst their own stealing to the very best in human nature caring for the suck often at great personal risk. One of the best books on the Far East prisoners I've read!

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Interviews from POWS in Burma and Thailand during WW2.

    • Lee Ferriday says:

      Harrowing and horrific treatment by the Japanese. But a triumph of the human spirit.

    • Eric says:

      This book explores the lives of Allied POWS and their experiences at the hands of their Japanese captors. An interesting read.

    • Joshua Mcdonald says:

      heartwrenching

    • Solomon says:

      Wonderfully well written

    • Matty says:

      Detailed depiction of brutalities. Occasional dry parts.

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