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

Overview

Eric Lomax was a lonely boy in Scotland in the 1930s, a devoted railway enthusiast—a spotter of trains in the glorious final age of steam, when engines were really worth looking at. In 1941 he was sent to Malaya as a member of the Royal Corps of Signals. Taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore, he was put to work on the infamous Burma-Siam railway, which cost the lives of 250,000 men. There he helped to build an illicit radio, so that the prisoners could follow the news of the war. The discovery of the radio ...
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The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

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Overview

Eric Lomax was a lonely boy in Scotland in the 1930s, a devoted railway enthusiast—a spotter of trains in the glorious final age of steam, when engines were really worth looking at. In 1941 he was sent to Malaya as a member of the Royal Corps of Signals. Taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore, he was put to work on the infamous Burma-Siam railway, which cost the lives of 250,000 men. There he helped to build an illicit radio, so that the prisoners could follow the news of the war. The discovery of the radio by the Japanese brought on two years of dreadful torture, starvation, and distress. Among his tormenters was a young English-speaking Japanese man attached to the secret police. Lomax never forgot his voice or his face. He spent half a century after the war internalizing and alone with his experiences; there was no one with whom he could share them. Late in life, Lomax learned how to believe in the possibility of hope. By a miracle of coincidence he discovered that his Japanese interrogator was alive, and found out where he was. This unforgettable book describes a life saved from final bitterness by an extraordinary will to remember and forgive.

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: 9780393350661
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/2/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 37,928
  • File size: 857 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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