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eBook Surviving The Sword: Prisoners Of The Japanese 1942-45 download

by Brian MacArthur

eBook Surviving The Sword: Prisoners Of The Japanese 1942-45 download ISBN: 0316861421
Author: Brian MacArthur
Publisher: Little Brown & Co; 1st edition (February 3, 2005)
Language: English
Pages: 512
ePub: 1716 kb
Fb2: 1423 kb
Rating: 4.7
Other formats: azw rtf doc lrf
Category: History
Subcategory: Asia

Surviving the Sword gives voice to these tens of thousands of Allied POWs and offers us a powerful reminder of the terror and depravations of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

Surviving the Sword gives voice to these tens of thousands of Allied POWs and offers us a powerful reminder of the terror and depravations of war and the resilience of the human spirit. In this important book, Brian MacArthur draws on the diaries of American, British, Dutch, and Australian Fepows (Far Eastern prisoners of war), some of whose recollections are published here for the first time. During World War II, there were few fates that could befall a soldier so hellish as internment in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. To this day, many survivors-most of whom are in their eighties-still cannot talk about their experiences without unearthing terrible memories.

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The book reveals the scope of Japanese abuses in individual camps, as well as the distribution of these camps throughout SE Asia.

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SURVIVING THE SWORD: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942-45. The war in the Far East scarcely impinged on the consciousness of the nation. Little, Brown, £20; 495pp. For most people in Britain in 1939-45 the war meant the war against Germany and Italy. That is understandable: German bombs fell on our cities. Everyone knew of Monty’s Eighth Army: the 14th Army which, under the command of General Slim drove the Japanese out of Burma, knew itself to be the forgotten army.

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MACARTHUR, BRIAN (Author) Time Warner Books (Publisher). Women beyond the wire a story of prisoners of the Japanese, 1942-45. Second World War Posters. Second World War. American Airmen In Britain During The Second World War. Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Some prisoners feared execution by the Japanese in response to American bombing. Surviving The Sword Prisoners of the Japanese 1942–45. London: Time Warner Books. The brutality of the guards caused traumatized prisoners to suffer mental illnesses that persisted for decades afterwards. In many cases, survivors of camps were traumatized or ended up living with a disability. In 2016, war historian Antony Beevor (who had recently completed his book The Second World War), said that the UK government had recently released information that in some Japanese PoW camps prisoners were fattened up to be killed and eaten.

Many of the prisoners held by the Japanese during the Second World War were so scarred by their experiences that afterwards they could not discuss them even with their families. They believed that their brutal treatment was, literally, incomprehensible. But some prisoners were determined that posterity should know how they were starved and beaten, marched almost to death or transported on 'hellships', used as slave labour - most notoriously on the Burma-Thailand railway - and how thousands died from tropical diseases. They risked torture or execution to keep secret diaries and make drawings that they hid wherever they could, sometimes burying them in the graves of lost comrades. The diaries tell of inhumanity and degradation, but there are also inspirational stories of courage, comradeship and compassion. When men have unwillingly plumbed the depths of human misery, said one prisoner, the artist Ronald Searle, they form a silent understanding of what solidarity, friendship and kindness to others can mean. The diaries and interviews with surviving prisoners drawn on in SURVIVING THE SWORD will tell a new generation about that solidarity, friendship and kindness.
Comments: (4)
The Sinners from Mitar
Wow. Surviving the Sword Up is certainly there with Gavin Dawes' circa 1990 book Prisoners of the Japanese, which focused mainly on the Americans' experience. This British publication, 15 years more recent, is a fine companion volume and a fascinating read, an intense, detailed account of the Southeast Asia POW camp life horrors of WWII (the editor Brian MacArthur stated this book does not cover civilian internment camps, and indeed it does not, because that would have to take another 500+ pages and be too much material for one volume.) It's eminently readable research of direct description, rather than a consistently quoted narrative of interviews. I simply could not put this book down. A huge bibliography is referenced, too, consisting of many obscure and extinct books predominately from Australian publishers, many of them from the mid-1940's so still fresh from the recent war arena. Although the British, Australians, Dutch and Americans suffered equally under Japanese captivity, it seems the Australian media was and is a little more dedicated to not having these tragic victims forgotten, but those first postwar books alluded to in the bibliography seem to have been blips on the radar and are now impossible to find except probably in some great-grand-dad's attic in Melbourne or perhaps in the back stacks of an antique used bookshop. Or the reading-room only of a public library in that country. Oh well. At least there is this magnificent and heroic volume courtesy of the British, a fine thick paperback edition which kept me engrossed all weekend.
Interesting as many family friends died during the The Death March, also the ones who were lucky to survive were scared terribly. Need to remember their struggle. I remember saying Good Bye to the New Mexico National Guard .
To read Brian MacArthur's book is to get a glimpse into hell. There was one chapter in fact I couldn't even read, and how often does that happen. That's the story of the North Borneo camp Sandakan where thousands of Australian prisoners of war were kept for years while they completed work on an airfield (slave labor), and then, when their work was done, they were systematically starved to death by their Japanese captors, in the waning months of World War II. Only six men survived. The book makes you wonder about what happens during war and how do the people in power lose all their humanity and show such inventive cruelty to their captives?

It wasn't only the guards and camp commandants... Each camp had its own collaborators, and some of the black marketers were as nasty and brutal as the Japanese. And then there were the captured Koreans or Thais who, forced to act as guards by the Japanese, rivalled their own captors in cruel games perhaps believing that, if they were more sadistic towards the British and Australian prisoners, they might curry favor with those above them. One thinks of Hannah Arendt's argument about the banality of evil, and wonders how one would have held up oneself under such horrific conditions. Well, I would have died within a few days I'm sure. And maybe conditions in US prisons are just as dehumanizing, ands the picture is too global to see it, but something about the particular set of circumstances in Singapore, Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia that staggers the imagination. Based on the contemporary diaries of more than 150 prisoners, diaries kept in secret, some of them buried and re-buried after each entry made, SURVIVING THE SWORD reconstructs a world of contradictions, a world in which cruelty was matched by compassion, infighting by camaraderie, people hurting each other by people helping each other, ignorance by ingenuity. I liked the story of the Rolex firm, after the war, examining a watch that kept perfect time despite having all its parts redone carved out of bamboo by resourceful prisoners with a magnifying glass. And the story of how one remarkable doctor found a way to grow yeast, to save the eyesight of hundreds of suffering prisoners, is the stuff heroic movies are made of.

But don't mention movies to author Brian MacArthur or he'll sit you down and tell you at length about what a bad movie THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVE KWAI was with its Alec Guinness character a libel on the great man the part was modelled on. He estimates that 27 percent of Fepows (Far East Prisoners of War) died in camp, compared to somewhere between 4 and 6 percent of their counterparts held by the Germans or Italians. The figures speak for themselves, but he is an eloquent spokesman as well.
my brother was a Japanese p.o.w. for 3.5 years and I can olny imagine what he went thru