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Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942-45

Publisher: Abacus

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Product Description

Media: BOOK - paperback, 528 pages
Author: B. MacArthur
Year: 2006
ISBN: 9780349119373
Other: b&w photos, sketches, bibliog, index
Publisher: Abacus

Many of the British, Australian and American prisoners held by the Japanese during the Second World War were so scarred by their experiences that afterwards they could not discuss them even with their families. They believed that their brutal treatment was, literally, incomprehensible.

But some prisoners were determined that posterity should know how they were starved and beaten, marched almost to death and used as slave labour, and how thousands died from tropical diseases. They risked torture and execution to keep secret diaries and make sketches and drawing that they hid from the guards wherever they could, sometimes burying them in the graves of lost comrades. Drawing on these diaries, and on interviews with former Far East Prisoners of War, 'Surviving the Sword' tells of inhumanity and degradation, but also of inspirational examples of courage, comradeship and compassion.

Author's Note

Part 1
1. Surrender
 - Interlude: 'We Feel Let Down Rather'
2. Changi
 - Interlude: Christmas in Captivity
3. The Railway of Death
 - Interlude: A Walk Along the River Kwai
4. The Real Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai
 - Interlude: Boon Pong
5. 'Speedo'
 - Interlude: Smokey Joe's
6. Sonkurai: Valley pf the Shadow of Death
 - Interlude: Ave Maria
7. The Railway Opens

Part 2
8. Survival
9. Books
10. Food
11. Religion
12. Jungle Medicine
13. Smoking 'Gone with the Wind'
14. King Rat
15. Letters
16. Entertainment
17. Sport
18. Ingenuity
19. The 'Canaries'
20. Officers and Gentlemen

Part 3
21. The Hellships
 - Interlude: A Happy Ending
22. Japan
 - Interlude: The 'Jap-happy'
23. Haruku
 - Interlude: A Conjuring Trick
24. Sandakan
 - Interlude: Mozart
25. Changi 1944-45
 - Interlude: 'Don't Let Thing Thing Drag'
26. Freedom
 - Interlude: Bushido
27. Home at Last
Epilogue: The Last Post
Postscript: What Became of Them?
Source Notes

'There are pages of this book that will bring tears to your eyes, tears evoked by horror, pits and often admiration' - The Times

'Here is an important, timeless story, and MacArthur does it justice' - Evening Standard

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