The Railway Man

The Railway Man

A Pow's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness

Book - 1995
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Baker & Taylor
A World-War II British prisoner tells of his captivity by Japanese soldiers

Blackwell North Amer
Eric Lomax was a lonely boy in Scotland in the 1930s, a devoted railway enthusiast - a spotter of trains in the glorious final age of steam, when engines were really worth looking at.
In 1941 he was sent to Malaya as a member of the Royal Corps of Signals. Taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore, he was put to work on the infamous Burma-Siam railway, which cost the lives of 250,000 men. There he helped to build an illicit radio, so that the prisoners could follow the news of the war.
The discovery of the radio by the Japanese brought on two years of dreadful torture, starvation, and distress. Among his tormenters was a young English-speaking Japanese man attached to the secret police. Lomax never forgot his voice or his face. He spent half a century after the war internalizing and alone with his experiences; there was no one with whom he could share them.
Late in life, Lomax learned how to believe in the possibility of hope. By a miracle of coincidence he discovered that his Japanese interrogator was alive, and found out where he was.
This unforgettable book describes a life saved from final bitterness by an extraordinary will to remember and forgive.

& Taylor

Soon to be the basis of a major film for BBC-TV, the autobiography of a World War II British prisoner of war tells of his captivity and torture by Japanese soldiers, one of whom he meets fifty years later.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, 1995.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780393039108
Branch Call Number: 940.5472 LOM
Characteristics: 276 p. ; 24 cm.


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May 23, 2015

Excellent story of survival and healing. I doubt I would ever have the strength or the compassion to have survived his ordeal or forgive as he did. Not only a tale of the insanity of war, but also about how poorly society treats soldiers and other victims of war.

Dec 11, 2014

Dec 10 2014, Well, I just watched the movie, and what a powerful story. I love the last line. 'Sometimes the hating has to stop.' I agree with dirtbag1. War is insanity. Yet we continue to have them........will we never learn? I can't help but think, if we put all the money spent on weapons, bombs, etc., into hospitals, schools, infastructure, wells, medical research, health care, etc......would we all not be better off? Ah, maybe some day........but then we are so human. Anyway, I'll put a hold on the book. I've learned to always watch the movie first, so as not to be disappointed. Unfortunately, there is only one copy of this book in the whole Chinook Arch system. I'll suggest it for purchase. Such a good message needs to be resurrected!......April 26 2015, I just finished the book, and it is soooo different from the movie, but better. As I was reading, I kept wondering when we were going to get to the part that the movie was about. That didn't really happen until about page 200 of a 270 page book. Strange, but it worked! Anyway, if you have watched the movie, you will want to read the book. But don't read the book first, or you may be disappointed!......and I like how this story tells the tale, of how life after being released was not really the end to the one at home understood! Hopefully we are making some progress in this area. ???

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 09, 2014

From a lonely childhood in Scotland as a devoted railway enthusiast, to the infamous Burmese-Siam Railway, this unforgettable book describes a life saved from final bitterness by an extraordinary wish to remember and forgive.

Dec 04, 2014

Yes, war is insane. This is a testament to survival and eventual forgiveness. Unlike some cultures who think forgiving is a sign of weakness

May 15, 2014

If I remember correctly Eric's original book was called The Clock Man, does the Oakville library have a copy?

Nov 19, 2011

The title tells the story of this British serviceman's experience as a POW and suspected spy on the ill-fated Siam-Burma Railway, made famous in the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai, during WWII.

Thank goodness there is recognition now of post-traumatic stress from wartime experiences and services for the healing of victims of torture. His journey and that of his Japanese interrogator is amazing. And, if you're a train buff you'll love his boyhood fascination and lifelong love of them. This is a movie in the works, I've heard.


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