[BOOKS] ✯ The Railway Man By Eric Lomax – Saudionline.co.uk

10 thoughts on “The Railway Man

  1. says:

    This is an extraordinary personal rendition of the ordeal of this man s life The writing is to the point and very poignant, giving much feeling to the sufferings the author endured.The author had a rather sheltered life in Scotland His descriptions of his upbringing and his infatuation with trains give stark contrast to the later events Given his predilection for structure, the army also provided that, when he was recruited at the outbreak of war in 1939 He trained somewhat in Scotland and England and then was shipped to India and finally Singapore in November of 1941 His entire life was shattered when he was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese when Singapore surrendered in February of 1942 We are provided with searing portrayals of his long incarceration the torture of himself and his comrades, his interrogations, lengthy imprisonment in small cells where silence was maintained for months at a time The diet was minimal several prisoners contracted diseases and died due to their weakened condition The overpowering strength of this book is how the author endured after the war As can be expected the memories never go away and he develops an enduring hatred of his captors that continually haunts his dreams Brutality is personal and those who experience it carry the physical and particularly, the mental scars for life There is always a simmering pain beneath the surface that corrodes the soul.I will not reveal the conclusion of the book except to say that seldom have I read of such an emotional upheaval with beautiful passages of forgiveness and reconciliation All this occurred fifty long years after the events happened, which demonstrates that indeed life can change for the better.

  2. says:

    I don t know why I m always fascinated in reading memoir of POWs or anyone who lived during the WWII This is my nth time to read a novel with the same setting and I always imagine putting myself on the shoes of those who experienced the war.The hardships of these POWs are detailed on these novels and I can t fathom on how the oppressors could easily torture them How can these devils still sleep at night or did they have conscience, are just some of the questions bugged me whenever I read this kind of books One of the author s oppressors that time was Takashi Nagase Through him, we learnt that there are some people like him during the war who still has conscience However, due to the circumstances, he has no choice but to follow the orders from the high ranking officials because his hands were also tied.I enjoyed reading this novel compared to the movie adaptation The intensity of the emotions and the suffering of Eric Lomax and his fellow comrades are clearly depicted in this book than in the movie.

  3. says:

    This is one of those rare books which I read because I watched the movie.The movie is not directly related to the book it is about the author, actually, and it is fictionalised and dramatised to a certain extent But it beautifully showcased the story of the man called Eric Lomax, a guy interested only trains and technology how he was physically and psychologically destroyed through years of drawn out torture, and how he brought himself back into life through an astonishing act of forgiveness This book is his own account of his descent into darkness and his triumphant return to light.Eric was a young man, engaged to be married, when he went abroad to fight the Second World War He had the misfortune to be part of the disastrous allied war effort in Malaya against the Japanese Captured by the enemy, he became part of the team who built the infamous Death Railway though not among the labour gangs who were dropping dead like flies at the site, to be buried in unmarked graves The POW camps which Japan ran were themselves a form of slow torture, with rampant malnutrition and disease The Japanese had scarce respect for the life or welfare of captured enemies However, even that was tolerable compared to the tortures they meted out to supposed miscreants Execution was merciful.Lomax and six others were found to be guilty of having constructed radios and listened to broadcasts from the Allied forces and potentially communicated with subversive forces in Malaya To compound his crime, the enemy discovered a map of the railway, drawn by him None of his explanations that he had done it as an enthusiast helped he was seen as plotting espionage All the suspects were brutally beaten two died of the beatings , confined in cramped cages under the hot sun, and Lomax was subjected to a cruel form of water torture rather like waterboarding to make him confess to espionage all the while, both his arms were in splints because they were broken Then they were sentenced to various terms in prison, where extreme malnutrition and overwork ensured that most of them wouldn t ever come out alive However, Eric survived though a totally broken man He came home to find his mother dead and father remarried Unable to connect with his family, he married his fiance and settled down but his ghosts wouldn t let him go, and the marriage broke up.At this low point in his life, he met his second wife Patti, a benign and understanding person, and his life took a turn for the better Even then, Lomax could not let go of his hatred for the enemy, which was symbolically concentrated on the Japanese interpreter Nagase who was present during his interrogation He continuously fantasised about torturing and murdering him, and kept on searching for his whereabouts only to find him in the eighties as a reformed man, a converted Buddhist doing his mite to help the survivors of the war.After a lot of dilly dallying, Lomax decided to meet Nagase, to lay his ghosts once and for ever That meeting turned out to be the turning point in his life From a demon, the enemy was transformed into a human being like himself His hatred went away and along with that, the ghosts of his past This is an uplifting human document about war, man s cruelty towards man, and the redemptive power of forgiveness I read this at a time when many in my family and acquaintances circle are clamouring for war, and it helped me to keep my faith in humanity For, as Eric Lomax says at the end of the book, at some time we all have to stop hating.

  4. says:

    The Japanese treatment of their Prisoners Of War during World War Two is about as monstrous as it s possible to imagine Curiously though, and despite some horrific personal experiences at the hands of his captors, Eric Lomax s account is most memorable as an inspiring, humbling and remarkable reminder of much that is good about humanity There is so much in this book early Scottish childhood memories a lifelong obsession with railways joining a Christian sect as a teenager travelling to India as a Royal Signals soldier the disastrous fall of Singapore in 1942 torture and beatings by the Kempetai the Japanese secret police Changi, the notorious labour camp in Singapore in 1945 survival against the odds liberation Eric s undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Eric s eventually rehabilitation an unlikely love story and finally, acceptance, forgiveness, and friendship and reconciliation with one of his captors The writing is simple and accessible, the contents profound and memorable An exceptional memoir.5 5

  5. says:

    I have to give 5 stars to this book because of what Eric endured as a POW in Burma torture and atrocities beyond comprehension and his struggle for decades to understand what had happened to him and how it was still affecting him Fortunately PTSD is now widely known and understood It took until Eric was nearing 70 to get the help he needed The last chapter was particularly moving and will stay with me for a long time.

  6. says:

    After seeing the movie and being quite affected by it interesting audience in cinema, nobody left in hurry afterwards and some were crying I was eager to read the book.To my surprise the book is different to the film in a lot of detail and much better but with still covering the same themes.The really great thing about this autobiographical account of the war is that it not all about the war The author starts at the beginning with fantastic detailed observations of the last of the steam trains which rang across the country before the electrics This in itself makes for a great historical record The author moves on to his account and story as solider come POW on the Burma Thai railway, his civilian life postings and most importantly the continued trauma he suffered with afterwards I think the real blessing of this book of Eric Lomax s story is that it brings a bridge of understanding and truth There were many things my grandparents Eric s generation could not talk about and I have observed many of their children baby boomers 1950s with had a disconnected relationship, leading in some ways to anger bitterness being passed on.

  7. says:

    My husband was given this book as a gift and came highly recommended.After a bit of slow start that was slightly boring, the book became an interesting read with an account of violence and brutality during war time with survival and hope at it s forefront Told as a true story of the author s real life events this is a very emotional read He did enjoy reading it and now wishes to see the movie to see how that compares.3.5 stars due to the slow start.

  8. says:

    Published in 1995, I decided to read this after I had seen the trailer for the film My interest was piqued as the film starred Colin Firth Colin Firth is a lover of literature and for the most part has chosen wisely in terms of film adaptations e.g A Single Man , The End of the Affair , Pride and Prejudice , The Railway Man etc..The book centers on Eric Lomax a Scottish engineer with the British army who was taken prisoner by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore The book starts with Lomax s early years in Edinburgh, working for the post office, his jaunts out to disused railway tracks and his job working as a signal man in Edinburgh Castle He set out for Singapore in 1940 The British largely underestimated the Japanese Singapore fell easily, 80,000 British troops were captured Strangely they thought the Japanese had night blindness due to the shape of their eyes Initially the PoW s are allowed plenty of freedom, Lomax helps to build a radio which is used to provide much needed news to his compatriots of the allied advancement The radio is discovered and what follows is a horrifying account of men being physically and psychologically broken in the monkey houses of Kanchanaburi Railways and trains are the refrain throughout this book It is the irony of ironies that Eric ends up working on the Burma Thai railway in 1943 as railways are such a big passion in his life His Japanese translator and interrogator referred to his railway mania We think of water boarding as a part of modern warfare torture but it was used quite liberally in the case of the captured British PoWs.When he returns home the psychological terror does not abate Post traumatic stress is a common theme in other accounts I have read There was very little support for these men, certainly the general public was not aware of the true extent of the horrors faced on the front line He focuses his hatred on the little Japanese man who translated and led the interrogations He meets his second wife Patti on a train in 1977 It is Patti who persuades him to seek help He then begins to recover and piece together what happened to his interrogator The Railway Man in the end is also the story of his interrogator Takashi Nagase His first family aren t mentioned that much nor his time spent in Africa Post traumatic stress costs him his first marriage, his family are also the victims of his trauma There is an interesting article in the Guardian which gives a voice to Charmaine Lomax s daughter from his first marriage Yet again we are presented with a written account as a form of therapy This is a unique account about the horror of torture, catharsis and the endeavor to forgive This work displays some decent writing and it is certainly very moving.

  9. says:

    Welcome to my latest review First of all I want to say thank you for the support on my latest blog post and review which broke my like record at 10 likes This means so much to me Today in reviewing my latest read which is the memoir The Railway Man by Eric Lomax The Railway Man won the NCR Book award in 1996 and the PEN Ackerley award Eric Lomax joined the British Army Royal Corps Of Signals in 1939 and soon after he volunteered for service in defending British Singapore from the advancing Imperial Japanese Army, after the fall of Singapore in 1942 he was taken prisoner as well as thousands of other Allied Servicemen This is his tale of captivity and brutality at the hands of the Japanese The Railway Man really opens your eyes to the little known horrors that Far eastern prisoners of war FEPOW had to endure Many died for many reasons mostly forced labour and starvation as well as mass murder in the building of the Burma Siam Railway If you enjoy memoirs then I definitely recommend The Railway Man, it s quite a short read too which is great for reluctant readers I definitely rate this the full five stars for the reasons stated above and the way the memoir is written makes it a pleasure to read Thanks for reading this review Please subscribe and check out my twitter and Goodreads

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  • Hardcover
  • 276 pages
  • The Railway Man
  • Eric Lomax
  • English
  • 01 November 2019
  • 9780393039108

About the Author: Eric Lomax

Lomax was a British Army officer who was sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1942 He is most famous for writing a book, The Railway Man, on his experience before, during, and after World War II, which won the 1996 NCR Book Award and the J R Ackerley Prize for Autobiography.