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The Railway Man | [Eric Lomax]

The Railway Man

A naive young man, a railway enthusiast and radio buff, was caught up in the fall of the British Empire at Singapore in 1942. He was put to work on the 'Railway of Death' - the Japanese line from Thailand to Burma. Exhaustively and brutally tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio, Lomax was emotionally ruined by his experiences.
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Publisher's Summary

A naive young man, a railway enthusiast and radio buff, was caught up in the fall of the British Empire at Singapore in 1942. He was put to work on the 'Railway of Death' - the Japanese line from Thailand to Burma. Exhaustively and brutally tortured by the Japanese for making a crude radio, Lomax was emotionally ruined by his experiences. Almost 50 years after the war, however, his life was changed by the discovery that his interrogator, the Japanese interpreter, was still alive - their reconciliation is the culmination of this extraordinary story.

©1995 Eric Lomax (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

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  •  
    Parusski Jackson TN 05-04-12
    Parusski Jackson TN 05-04-12 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    797
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1103
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
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    73
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    Performance
    Story
    "From hatred to forgiveness"

    The Railway Man, by Eric Lomax, is the story of an innocent young man who had a passion for everything trains. Lomax joined the Royal Signal Corp and was captured by the Japanese in 1942. After a detailed map he sketched and a crude radio he built were discovered and confiscated by his guards, Lomax was interrogated on suspicion of being a spy. The interrogation was brutal and seemed likely never to end The interpreter was as cold and cruel as the questioners and was the person Lomax hated most after the war. Lomax was physically and psychologically devastated after his ordeal. He had fantasies of killing the interpreter. But 50 years after it was over Eric Lomax learned the interpreter was still alive and was tormented by his complicity in the interrogation of a particular British POW. Although it seems impossible, Lomax was the very man who Nagase Takeshi must seek forgiveness from to ease his own suffering and guilt. Through a series of near misses and some misunderstanding the two meet. And with the grace and dignity that often only the elderly can display the two former enemies become comfortable together. In the end the two men also became friends. Both Lomax and Takeshi experience great happiness in their final few years through forgiveness and understanding. Do not miss this tale of the ultimate goodness of some men.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 04-30-14
    Patricia 04-30-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    58
    12
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    "Profoundly moving"

    What an inspiration. It puts my petty grudges in a whole new context. I am so grateful that Eric Lomax shared his story, and I will try to live closer to his standard. How lucky we are to have such guiding lights.

    Beautifully read. Riveting. Listened straight through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results
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  • paul
    WORTHING, United Kingdom
    1/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard going"

    First I have to say that the horrendous treatment of the man and his story of its consequences is truly gut wrenching - awful. He has my sympathy - a word that doesn't do his suffering any justice. Deliberate cruelty for defenceless men is the lowest form of evil and this attribute of their treatment of both prisoners and especially Chinese civilians is a great shame for the Japanese.

    The book is written as a narrative, it is not a great work of literature. The story should be compelling but the audio delivery is so dreary that I would find myself skipping forward - or falling asleep. A solution if found for anyone who finds similar is to play it at 2x speed on the audio player - sounds daft but is comes over better and the delivery is sharper and keeps the attention- and you get though it in half the speed.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jemmy Bloocher
    UK
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "a tale of humanity, frailty and ultimately redemption"

    I am sure that this book will stay in my mind for years to come. It is a profoundly moving autobiographical story of one man's experience as a p.o.w in the far east. 'Moving' is oft used, but not by me! I found myself in tears a few times. The quality of the reading was first rate and the prose lovely. I cannot fault this audiobook and feel that my life has been enriched for having heard it. It is not a book I would've picked, but was suggested for my book group. I am very glad it was. The author's honesty and experience can teach us all

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. R. H. Barnes
    London
    11/22/12
    Overall
    "Riverting, Captivating, Inspiring"

    I could not stop listening to this fantastic book. A brilliant insight into a period of modern history that must never be forgotten. Written so fluently and Bill Paterson's narration is excellent.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ann
    warrington, United Kingdom
    3/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "moving but measured"
    What did you like most about The Railway Man?

    I was worried that this was going to be more gruesome than I could stand. However this was written in such a way, that although the suffering of Lomax and his fellow prisoners was absolutely appalling, I could listen and sympathise with this man who deprecated his own suffering and wrote so touchingly and with dignity of the suffering of others. The ultimately positive ending brought me to tears- gives us some faith in humanity after all.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    2 favourites - Eric Lomax and the interrogator's interpreter, who also suffered for so many years: two dignified old men


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Oh yes! It was harrowing at times, but ultimately up lifting - I cried


    Any additional comments?

    Loved Bill Paterson's narration - so understated, just what it should be

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    1/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masterly"
    If you could sum up The Railway Man in three words, what would they be?

    Gripping, moving and compelling


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lomax himself, his command of the prose and descriptive ability put you alongside him as he travels his lifes' path


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When he finally forgave his nemesis


    Any additional comments?

    I can only recommend that you purchase and listen to this book. You will be moved.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Glasgow, United Kingdom
    1/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting"

    It is hard to give an opinion on something that has been the story of a life - it starts slowly and there is as expected a lot of detail about the railway and trains in this country however this is obviously an important backdrop.
    It is an emotional and sometimes dreadful story particularly the harrowing details of torture but also rewarding - the meeting between the main character and his Japanese counterpart is nothing short of amazing. How that man could forgive I will never know he must have been an extraordinary character and this is a truly inspiring story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lisa
    5/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting - a good read ending was disappointing"
    Would you try another book written by Eric Lomax or narrated by Bill Paterson?

    Yes


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The interesting part was when he went to meet his enemy and the detail of the torture. Least interesting part was the end.


    What three words best describe Bill Paterson’s voice?

    Friendly, convincing, proud


    Could you see The Railway Man being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    Yes and already been done but I have not watched the movie.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a good read and I would recommend it but I found the ending a bit disappointing as I wanted him to find the map, that would have made the ending better for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Andrew Trentham
    UK
    5/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Railway Man to be better than the print version?

    Yes due to sight problems it's easier


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kept me wanting to read on and on


    What about Bill Paterson’s performance did you like?

    We'll read and being Scotish made it more realistic


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me really think about the subject as well as forgiveness


    Any additional comments?

    I will now watch the film. An exceptional true story

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • jill
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insight into an unimaginable terrible experience"
    Would you listen to The Railway Man again? Why?

    No as I don't listen to any books twice


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Eric Lomas as this was who the story was centred


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I can't say that I enjoyed any scene.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I found the beginning rather uninteresting as I have a limited fascination for trains.
    The rest of the book was gruelling to listen to but what a man to survive and be able to write
    about such a terrible treatment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    WALSALL, United Kingdom
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "worth a read"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    i would have put a lot more excitment into the day they were freed from the the hell they had suffered


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    most interesting was the description of the awful conditions and terror the soldiers had to live through told in a graphic but not too disturbing way, the least interesting was all the information on trains and engines


    What does Bill Paterson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Bill Paterson captured the deperation and sometimes the fear and even how tired Eric Lomax was of it all


    Was The Railway Man worth the listening time?

    i believe it was


    Any additional comments?

    not the best book i have read but im glad ive read it just to remember what those men suffered and its part or our history that should not be forgotten

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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