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Railroad of Death by John Coast

A new edition of the 1946 bestseller, the first and best account of forced labor on the Burma Railway

John Coast was a young British Army officer who was taken prisoner at the Fall of Singapore in February, 1942. He took notes and concealed them from the Japanese for nearly three years, but lost them when he was forced to bury them to avoid repeated searches. Coast had to write the book all over again while on the voyage home. His book is moving, dramatic, and chilling in the detail it gives of the cruelty inflicted by Japanese and Korean soldiers on the prisoners and Asian workers who died in even greater numbers working on the railway. Yet it is at the same time lyrical in its descriptions of the natural world surrounding the camps and the food and kindness shown by some Thais to the prisoners. Coast brings to life the camps and towns of the Burma Railway and the culture of Bali and Indonesia that allowed him to find some comfort and meaning amid the horror. This new edition has an introduction and appendices which include transcriptions of his BBC interviews with his Japanese captors and Takashi Nagase. Other appendices include never before published documents which help reveal details about secret radios and attempted escapes masterminded by the talented group of officers around Coast. It also includes an index and list of newly identified individuals mentioned in the book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781905802937
Publisher: Myrmidon Books
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 1,295,058
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Coast (1916-1989) was a prisoner of war that was sent into Thailand to build railways for the Japanese and the story of that time, Railroad of Death, became a bestseller and was later to form the subject of Return to the River Kwai, a documentary made in 1969 for the BBC. After the war, and back in London, Coast became a manager and an impressario to such artists as Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Jon Vickers and Montserrat Caballe. He was the first man to present Bob Dylan in London and take Ravi Shankar to the West.

Table of Contents

Foreword Dr Karl Hack xi

Railroad of Death: an introduction Dr Laura Noszlopy xiv

Railroad of Death John Coast 1

Appendix 1 Today I went back to Kamburi… by John Coast (1947) 285

Appendix 2 BBC Script from the 1969 Documentary: Return to the River Kwai John Coast 294

Appendix 3 'Return to the River Kwai' by John Coast, article from Argosy, October 1969, volume 369, number 4 333

Appendix 4 From MI9 POW Questionnaire, 1945. National Archives (TNA), WO344/404/1 Lieutenant Leslie William (George) Sully - Escape Attempt 342

Appendix 5 From MI9 POW Questionnaire, 1945. National Archives (TNA), WO344/407/2 Lieutenant Donald Harry Webber - Comments on escape attempts and risking life by leaving the camp for vital supplies 348

Appendix 6 From MI9 POW Questionnaire, 1945. National Archives (TNA), WO344/407/2 Captain Max Lear Webber Courageous acts and operation of secret radio 350

Appendix 7 Webber Brothers' joint detailed report on organisation, risks and support/opposition to operation of the secret radio in Chungkai and Kanburi Camps 352

Appendix 8 From War Crimes Trial of Lieutenant Ino Takeo 1947. National Archives (TNA), WO235/1052 360

Appendix 9 Real names of some people mentioned in Railroad of Death 382

Index 387

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