The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgivenessby Eric Lomax
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/em>/p>… See more details below
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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 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.
People MagazineAn extraordinary book.
Boston GlobeA timely book that touches upon great issues....He contributes monumentally to our understanding of war and remembrance.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyLomax, 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 JournalLomax, 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.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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