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

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

4.3 11
by Eric Lomax
     
 

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Now a Major Motion Picture Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.The Railway Man is a remarkable memoir of forgiveness—a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. Eric Lomax, sent to Malaya in World War II, was taken prisoner by the Japanese and put to punishing work on the notorious Burma-Siam

Overview

Now a Major Motion Picture Starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.The Railway Man is a remarkable memoir of forgiveness—a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. Eric Lomax, sent to Malaya in World War II, was taken prisoner by the Japanese and put to punishing work on the notorious Burma-Siam railway. After the radio he illicitly helped to build in order to follow war news was discovered, he was subjected to two years of starvation and torture. He would never forget the interpreter at these brutal sessions. Fifty years after returning home from the war, marrying, and gaining the strength from his wife Patti to fight his demons, he learned the interpreter was alive. Through letters and meeting with his former torturer, Lomax bravely moved beyond bitterness drawing on an extraordinary will to extend forgiveness.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393344073
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/11/2014
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
141,992
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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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Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 !
graingod More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
JHartJH More than 1 year ago
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.
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