Railway Man by Eric Lomax

I made an interesting discovery on New Year’s Eve that the new film Railway Man starring Colin Firth, whose advert is on tv constantly at the moment, is based on the book of the same name that I recently finished.

I won’t waste your time with details the plot as I’m sure more people will see the film in time and if it is anything like the book the raw emotion with render it an unbridled success. Feelings as diverse as pity, annoyance, horror, revulsion and pride stream from the pages of Eric Lomax’s memoirs and it is sometimes hard to believe a man could have survived the torture, physical, mental and emotional, that he endured without breaking completely. Most books of this nature merely focus on the main event, in this case capture by the Japanese and working on the Burma-Siam railway, but Lomax goes into detail about his life both before and after to give the reader a more complete picture of his character.

As a nation we know a lot about WWII in Europe and the horrors of the Holocaust. We have largely ignored or are ignorant about the war in the far east and it is lamentable that people who fought, died and suffered horribly were sidelined by the authorities at the time and continue to be so today by the general public. I include myself in this category and that is why honest memoirs like this are so important and why I recommend it most heartily.

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