The Railway Man

The Railway Man by Eric Lomax is described as “a remarkable true story of forgiveness–a tremendous testament to the courage that propels one toward remembrance, and finally, peace with the past. A classic war autobiography, The Railway Man is a powerful tale of survival and of the human capacity to understand even those who have done us unthinkable harm”

It is.

Eric Lomax, a British army soldier, was captured by the Japanese during the Singapore campaign of 1942. A railroad buff since a child, he took strange pleasure in his work as a POW on the Burma-Siam Railroad, which was later the subject of the film Bridge Over the River Kwai. When his captors discovered his detailed drawings of the railway, he was suspected as a spy and tortured for years. Fifty years later he discovered that the interpreter during his tortures was still alive. The two arranged a meeting and Lomax forgave him. Here is the exciting, moving and truthful account.

That explains why I felt that it was ‘old news’ while reading it. IN fact I feel a tad guilty that I can’t enthuse about the book. A sign of the times maybe? A sign of the saturation of ‘war stories’ that we have been fed over the years. It feels wrong not to be moved by the book, and I certainly feel for what he went through, but at the end of the day it just felt like ‘more of the same’, and it makes me sad to think that way.

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