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The Railway Man: A True Story of War, Remembrance, and Forgiveness Paperback – September 3, 1996
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Eric Lomax, a British army soldier, was captured by the Japanese during the Singapore campaign of 1942. A railroad buff since a child, he took strange pleasure in his work as a POW on the Burma-Siam Railroad, which was later the subject of the film Bridge Over the River Kwai. When his captors discovered his detailed drawings of the railway, he was suspected as a spy and tortured for years. Fifty years later he discovered that the interpreter during his tortures was still alive. The two arranged a meeting and Lomax forgave him. Here is the exciting, moving and truthful account.
From Publishers Weekly
Lomax, a British Army signals officer, was captured by the victorious Japanese during the Singapore campaign in 1942. Fascinated by railroads ever since his childhood in Edinburgh, he took what pleasure he could in the irony of his slave-labor assignment as a POW: the construction of the Burma-Siam Railroad, made famous later in the David Lean film Bridge over the River Kwai. When guards discovered his lovingly detailed map of the right-of-way, Lomax was turned over to the Japanese secret police as a suspected spy. In the subsequent torture sessions, the interpreter, a young man named Nagase Takeshi, played a prominent role in the effort to break him down. Half a century later, by what he calls "an incredible and precious coincidence," Lomax learned that Takeshi was still living. A meeting of reconciliation at the Kwai River, which Lomax at first suspected was a fraudulent publicity stunt, was arranged. His graceful and restrained account of how the two men eventually became "blood-brothers" after Lomax granted Takeshi full forgiveness is deeply moving.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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After the war was over, and he was repatriated, he writes about how the British government did virtually nothing for the returning veterans in the way of medical treatments or counseling. It's not for nothing that the Far Eastern campaign has been titled the "Forgotten War".
Fifty years after the war, he discovered that the Japanese interpreter during his tortures was still alive. As with many, if not most veterans from the Pacific Theater of World War II, Mr Lomax utterly hated the Japanese and had no intention of every forgiving them. However, after learning of the great lengths his former adversary (the interpreter) had gone to after the war to make amends, he eventually agreed to meet him, and forgave him.
The book is well written and moving, and is one of the better memoirs dealing with the war in the Pacific.
I do not want to be a spolier but the content of the book and the movie differed greatly but they are both great works. It is a shame that with the passing of time we will soon lose all the great men like Eric Lomax.