Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness [NOOK Book]

Overview

Here is a remarkable true story of forgiveness--a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. A classic war autobiography, The Railway Man is a powerful tale of survival and of the human capacity to understand even those who have done us unthinkable harm.

From The Railway Man:


The passion for trains and ...

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Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

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Overview

Here is a remarkable true story of forgiveness--a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. A classic war autobiography, The Railway Man is a powerful tale of survival and of the human capacity to understand even those who have done us unthinkable harm.

From The Railway Man:


The passion for trains and railroads is, I have been told, incurable. I have also learned that there is no cure for torture. These two afflictions have been intimately linked in the course of my life, and yet through some chance combination of luck and grace I have survived them both.


I was born in Edinburgh, in the lowlands of Scotland, in 1919. My father was an official in the General Post Office there, a career which he had started as a boy of 16 and which he intended me to imitate to the letter. He was fascinated by telephony and telegraphy, and I grew up in a world in which tinkering and inventing and making were honoured past-times. I vividly remember the first time that my father placed a giant set of headphones around my ears and I heard, through the hiss and buzz of far-off-energies, a disembodied human voice.


In the worst times, much later, when I thought I was about to die in pain and shock at the hands of men who could not imagine anything of my life, who had no respect for who I was or my history, I might have wished that my father had had a different passion. But in the 1920s, technology was still powerful and beautiful without being menacing. Who would have thought that a radio, for example, could cause terrible harm? It seemed to be a wonderful instrument by which people could speak to each other; and yet I heard Hitler ranting over airwaves, and saw two men beaten to death for their part in making such an instrument, and suffered for my own part in it for a half a century.

In a narrative of almost hypnotic power, Lomax tells the story of his capture and torture, when, as a member of the Royal Army in Singapore during World War II, his battalion fell to the Japanese—and of his fateful meeting with one of his captors nearly 50 years later. The Railway Man man is the story of a life saved from final bitterness by extraordinary will to remember and forgive.

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Editorial Reviews

People Magazine
An extraordinary book.
Boston Globe
A timely book that touches upon great issues....He contributes monumentally to our understanding of war and remembrance.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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 The Bridge on 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. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Lomax, the "railway man," was an Scotsman in the Royal Signal Corps stationed in Malaya. Trains were his passion, and when Singapore was taken by the Japanese at the start of World War II, he was sent to Thailand as a prisoner of war to work on the infamous Burma-Siam railroad, recalled in the motion picture The Bridge on the River Kwai. When the elementary radio he built and a detailed map he sketched were found, he was interrogated as a spy and horrifyingly tortured day after day. The interpreter was as merciless as the torturers, and this was the man Lomax could not forget or forgive. After the war he returned home, psychologically and physically impaired. Almost 50 years later, he learned his tormentor was still alive and had been haunted by his role in the torture of a British POW. The Japanese man could not properly die unless he was forgiven. The last few, too short pages detailing the climactic meeting of the two men are the strongest. Lomax shares his heavyhearted feelings with the reader in a brilliant display of underwriting. A strong choice for most libraries. [The BBC is planning a major film starring John Hurt.]
—Ralph DeLucia, Willoughby Wallace Lib., Branford, Conn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393344004
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/6/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 15,869
  • File size: 377 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Lomax was born in 1919 and volunteered for the Royal Corps of Signals in 1939. He died in England in 2012 at the age of 93.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent account of a POW's life in WWII Pacific.

    If you're a WWII buff, or just interested in learning the truth about WWII, not what you've been fed by Hollywood and politically-corrected history reinventors, read this book, it'll wake you up. The first fifty pages gives you no clue as to the direction this true story is headed, and you'd have to be a train buff to really enjoy them, but get through them, because you won't be disappointed. I find it amazing that Lomax could manage to write this memoir in such detail, because he would have had to suffer through the experience a second time to do it.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    Outstanding Account !

    Lomax is a British patriot of the first order..his true accounting of his ordeal at the hands of the Jananese is at once horrible and redemtive..in all of war's ugliness the human spirit will still triumph !

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2014

    This beautifully written and succinctly told story of Eric Lomax

    This beautifully written and succinctly told story of Eric Lomax's war years and especially captivity by the Japanese during the Second World War in Asia is an account about life as a POW told like never before. Man's ability to fight for survival under the most horrendous of situations is portrayed so well that it comes out as a book on survival and a lot more. Eric Lomax's Railway Man is a highly recommended read. Like in the story Flash of the Sun, we learn of the so many post-war difficulties that POWs suffer.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    For history buffs, it is a must read.

    Lomax relates an interesting tale. I have not seen any reviews of British POW's experiences. You have to understand the Brits pension for understatement. For example he would tell of torture he experienced and simply review it as uncomfortable. Again, I am amazed about the Japanese universal acceptance of brutality. I highly recomend this book to anyone interested in WWII history.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Well told

    Filled with detail from start to finish, Mr. Lomax gives the account of his life. From his early youth, and his facination with trains to his enlistment in the service at the begining of WW II. His terrible experience at the hands of the Japanese soldiers as a POW--torture, beatings, threats, starvation, disease. He brings it out in living color for all to witness. He continues with accounts of how he dealt with the hidden mental scars such experience leaves deep within, and how he came to face one of his tormentors years later--not with malice but forgiveness. This extraordinary tale of a man's life, and how it had been horrifically interupted, and how he eventually overcomes the bitterness to free himself is inspiring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 8, 2014

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    Posted August 16, 2014

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    Posted May 9, 2014

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    Posted December 22, 2013

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