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Hellfire : the story of Australia, Japan and…

Hellfire : the story of Australia, Japan and the prisoners of war

by Cameron Forbes

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The chapters on the prisoners are excellent, but the start and the finish of the book were the Authors opinion on the White Australia policy and how much better Multiculturalism is. Quite frankly I don't want his opinion, I wanted to read about the POW's. Sadly a missed opportunity. ( )
  bookmarkaussie | Jan 26, 2016 |
Written from the perspective of the ANZAC prisoner of war under the incarceration of the Japanese in the Pacific theatre of war. It starts out with the defence and fall of Singapore as the Japanese army storms down from Malaya to overun the 'fortress'. The focus then shifts to the POW's as they are shipped off to build the Thai-Burma railway under terrible and inhumane conditions. Many are overcome by disease such as cholera, but others are simply worked or beaten to death by the Japanese.

At the completion of the railway, many are shipped off to Japan to work in the factories. Ironically, some never make it and their ships are sunk by Allied submarines, not knowing POW's are aboard.

The book concludes with the Japanese attempting to cover-up their crimes by eliminating any evidence including the POW's.

The book is clearly written and can be very emotive in parts. ( )
  bregog | Feb 2, 2010 |
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For months during 1943 there was no night in Hellfire Pass. By the light of flares, carbide lamps and bamboo fires, men near-naked and skeletal cut a passage through stone to make way for a railway. Among these men were some of the 22,000 Australian soldiers taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II. In camps across Asia and the Pacific, struggled, died, and survived with a little help from their mates. 'Hellfire' was researched in Australia, Japan and across South-East Asia. It draws on 50 first-person interviews, ranging from former prisoners to an old Mon villager deep in the Burmese jungle, and from Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew to veterans of the Imperial Japanese Army. The result is a tour de force, a powerful and searing history of the prisoners of the Japanese.… (more)

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