Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Digger's Story: Surviving the Japanese POW Camps was Just the Beginning

Digger's Story: Surviving the Japanese POW Camps Was Just the Beginning, David Barrett & Brian Robertson, Amazon Digital Services, 2012 
(Kindle Book Review)

This is the chronicle of one person's life as a Prisoner of War in World War II, and his life after he returned home.

Barrett was your average Australian teenager who enlisted in the military for some adventure, and to escape a difficult home life. He found himself in an ambulance corps in Malaysia, near Singapore. The average soldier knew very little of what was happening, but they were sure of one thing. The British commanders in the area were doing a terrible job. They were more interested in retreating than in actually fighting the Japanese. Everyone knew that surrender was inevitable.

For the next three years, Barrett was a prisoner of the Japanese, "helping" to build a railroad through Burma and Thailand. To say that conditions were beyond brutal and inhuman is much too generous. He was part of the medical detail, doing whatever he could for the very sick. Barrett spent his days digging mass graves outside the camp, for the thousands who dies of causes ranging from starvation and overwork to diseases like cholera and dysentery. After the war, Barrett joined an Allied commission that traveled that same railroad, looking for mass graves. The intention was to look for evidence of Japanese war crimes, and to give those who were buried a final bit of recognition and dignity.

Fast forward to the 1980s. After a successful career in sales, Barrett learned of a group of Canadian ex-POW's who, through the United Nations, demanded reparations from Japan. Why couldn't Australian ex-POW's do the same thing? Barrett put together a Reparations Committee, and found that the vast majority of ex-POW's were totally in favor. Th Executive Committee of the National Ex-POW Association did not agree. Secret negotiations with the Japanese Government start moving in a direction that Barrett does not like. Does he stick it out? Does he ever reduce his hatred of all things Japanese?

This book easily gets 5 stars. It does not go too far in any one direction, but is very well-done chronicle of a person's journey to hell and back. It is highly recommended.

(The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.)

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