Eric Lomax was a young army officer who, during the Second world War, was one of the men forced to build the Burma railway. This book is his autobiography. It also details the meeting he had with his Japanese former torturer, Takashi Nagase, many years later. The crazy thing is, Eric forgave Nagase.
The generation of POWs and soldiers are all but gone. We as a 21st century audience can only adopt the attitude of casual observers. We can watch David Lean’s golden travesty of a film about POWs but we can never really ever imagine the suffering those incarcerated people felt, or how they struggled to adapt to life back home following the war. If they returned at all.
The book is so vividly written. It recalls a man full of life who was emotionally scarred from his experiences working on the infamous Burma ‘Death Railway’.
No words can truly describe how good this book was. I read it within a few days while away in England recently, and the book had me enthralled throughout with its tale of redemption, loss, pain and forgiveness. Despite all that happened, perhaps Lomax was right to forgive the man who tortured him. In our modern society, we hold on to hate far too easily.
A fantastic book over all which tears at the heartstrings. It makes me want to watch the film again. It has also renewed my interest in the individual stories of the POWs. Its sad that Lomax died shortly before the release of the film.
MY RATING: **** / *****