Some atrocities perpetrated against man are more than I can bear the knowledge of. I like reading true accounts of war, but some of them I have regretted reading.
This book is not one of them. Written in the first person narrative by a Scotsman who survived being a POW for several years, it begins at the fall of Singapore and his escape attempt and subsequent capture by the Japanese. It then describes the difficulties endured while working on the Thai-Burma railroad, and ends with the allied victory and the efforts of soldiers to re-assimilate into society at the end of the war.
During these events, the author comes to a saving knowledge of God. He watches the degradation of the men and the decline in humanity under the rule of the Japanese. However, as Christianity spreads throughout the camp, the remarkable turnaround in the behaviour of the men and their ability to face death without fear is truly inspiring.
There are passages that would still stop me from giving it to younger children, however there is not the usual language or excessive detail that turns your regular war account into a horror fest.
Several men do sacrifice their lives for their friends, but it has the effect of being heroic and inspiring, rather than concentrating on the gory details.
This book is both a remarkable account of one man’s war experience, and a fascinating insight into the nature of man and salvation.