During the Second World War Eric Lomax was forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway and was tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio.
Left emotionally scarred and unable to form normal relationships, Lomax suffered for years until, with the help of his wife, Patti Lomax, and of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, he came terms with what happened. Fifty years after the terrible events, he was able to meet one of his tormentors.
The Railway Man is a story of innocence betrayed, and of survival and courage in the face of horror.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Written with crisp clarity and dignified restraint, Eric Lomax’s memoir recounts his experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II. Lomax meticulously explores the ideals and choices that both nearly cost and saved his life, and he offers a moving account of coming to forgive his repentant torturer. Recently adapted into a movie, The Railway Man is a deeply affecting book.
Lomax, a British Army signals officer, was captured by the victorious Japanese during the Singapore campaign in 1942. Fascinated by railroads ever since his childhood in Edinburgh, he took what pleasure he could in the irony of his slave-labor assignment as a POW: the construction of the Burma-Siam Railroad, made famous later in the David Lean film Bridge over the River Kwai. When guards discovered his lovingly detailed map of the right-of-way, Lomax was turned over to the Japanese secret police as a suspected spy. In the subsequent torture sessions, the interpreter, a young man named Nagase Takeshi, played a prominent role in the effort to break him down. Half a century later, by what he calls "an incredible and precious coincidence,'' Lomax learned that Takeshi was still living. A meeting of reconciliation at the Kwai River, which Lomax at first suspected was a fraudulent publicity stunt, was arranged. His graceful and restrained account of how the two men eventually became ``blood-brothers'' after Lomax granted Takeshi full forgiveness is deeply moving.