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TO END ALL WARS Paperback – May 27, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (May 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007118481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007118489
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Now A Major Motion Picture Starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland

‘Waking from a dream, I suddenly realized where I was: in the Death House–in a prison camp by the River Kwai. I was a prisoner of war, lying among the dead, waiting for the bodies to be carried away so that I might have more room.’ When Ernest Gordon was twenty-four he was captured by the Japanese and forced, with other British prisoners, to build the notorious ‘Railroad of Death’, where nearly 16,000 Prisoners of War gave their life. Faced with the appalling conditions of the prisoners’ camp and the brutality of the captors, he survived to become an inspiring example of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.

To End All Wars is Ernest Gordon’s gripping true story behind both the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring Alec Guinness and the new film To End All Wars directed by David Cunningham.


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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To End All Wars is the story of the author's time in a series of Japanese POW camps during World War II.
Neal Bellet
Somehow, in the midst of hell, these men found the power to love each other, to care for each other, to even forgive their Japanese tormentors.
D. Whitmarsh
This railway and the Chungkai prison camp are the real back story to the Oscar winning film "Bridge On the River Kwai."
S. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Philip A. True on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This account of how a young Scot, captured by the Japanese in April, 1942, managed to survive the brutal treatment accorded POWs under Japan's control has endured long after Ernest Gordon's imprisonment ended, and will continue to endure and influence readers for more years to come. This book, originally published over 40 years ago, was one of the sources for the highly popular movie of that era, "Bridge Over the River Kwai," and the more recent "To End All Wars."
Some parts of this book are very difficult to read as Gordon, a Captain in a Scottish regiment, spares no detail as he relates the physical trauma, the diseases, the wretched conditions imposed by their captors and the senseless, sometimes unbelievable treatment by the guards of their captives . How to survive this vertiable hell hole? As he notes, without some sort of discipline and some moral compass for guidance, many men gave up hope and died. But Gordon found within the prison camp two people who selflessly gave of themselves when Gordon was literally at death's door to help restore him to physical health, of people who washed his sores, encouraged, prodded, and inspired. Through the faith of these two, one a Methodist, the other a Roman Catholic, Gordon reinvestigated the New Testament and from that learned and acted out the commandment to "love others", even including the brutal Japanese guards, as he would love himself. Using these simple teachings of love, encouragement, and selfless help to your neighbor, Gordon and others in the various camps were able to overcome the horrific conditions under which they existed. The melding of the spiritual and the discipline of order, neatness, and cooperation saw the POWs triumph over the evil of the system under which they existed.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Brad Peters on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
While Earnest Gordon's story contains enough description of the atrocities inflicted on him and his fellow POW's by the hands of the Japanese in Southeast Asia during WW2, this does not read like your typical POW story. By typical, I mean a blow-by-blow account (literally at times) of the grueling, horrific experience of Allied soldiers during the war. Though there are passages of such description that aptly set the stage for the story, this book is more about the way in which Gordon and his fellow prisoners of war created the Kingdom of God in the hell of mankind.

It is, then, a differently woven story than you might expect. But given the chance, it is a wonderful story of redemption, forgiveness, love and charity - despite overwhelming odds - and is a story that you can't put down. There were times during my reading, that I found myself asking, "Could this be true?" But it is, as Gordon relates his experience from beginning to end, and concludes with an epilogue that completes his life after the war and puts a dose of realism to balance any incredulity the reader may have amassed.

Gordon's story is not designed to heap more evidence of damnation on the Japanese for the cruelties they inflicted during the war. That is the job for others, as Gordon clearly points out. Gordon's story, rather, is one to demonstrate that love can conquer hate, that goodness can overcome evil, that to "end all wars" mankind must learn to forgive and to love, even our enemies.

A powerful book!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. Clark on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Formally published as "Miracle on the River Kwai" and renamed to coincide with a new movie. This book was written by Ernest Gordon a Scottish Army officer who served in the South Pacific During the war.

Back Story

During that time the Japanese advanced on Singapore, and Gordon and a few other officers try to escape on a chartered sailboat. After being captured at sea, he was incarcerated and sent to a work camp in Thailand, building the infamous railway of death, where nearly 80,000 prisoners lost their life in a little over a year. This railway and the Chungkai prison camp are the real back story to the Oscar winning film "Bridge On the River Kwai."

What the classic movie doesn't tell you is the horrific condition and constant death that the builders of the bridge met with on a daily basis.

The Book

The story is a recount of Ernest Gordon's experiences at the camp and his witness to that camps transformation from what he called "the worst that man could be" to the "best that man could be."

The book starts with Gordon laying in the hospital at Chungkai, called the "Death House" by the prisoners as there was very few he came back from the hospital. Gordon then flashes back to what led him here, and then continues from that point and tells of the camps transformation. Before Gordon wound up in the hospital the camp was very much "every man for himself" animal instinct and the law of the jungle dictated who lived and who died. During Gordon's stay at the hospital while he was suffering and near death with Beriberi, Tropical Ulcers, Malaria, and Amoebic Dysentery, he propped himself up, void of hope, and penned a last letter to his parents. That was his low point.
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