WARNING!!!!Before reading to this thread I must point out that I get very passionate during my review of this book.
Sandakan by Paul Ham
Paul Ham delivers yet again with Sandakan and shows why he is one of Australia's best military historians. Sandakan tells the story of Australian and British soldiers taken prisoners by the Japanese in Borneo and the horrors they faced as POW's. Paul Ham as usual serves up a well-balanced book covering all aspects of the Sandakan POW camp and the prisoners final death march. Out of 2700 POW's only 6 were to survive the horror that was Sandakan.
This book gives a human face to the prisoners and those who imprisoned them. It shows the sadistic and brutal psyche of the Japanese Imperial army but tempers this with the kindness shown by some of the guards. I was truly humbled by the fortitude and braveness shown by the POW's despite the brutality and deprivation that was bought upon them. The true spirit of mateship shines through in the stories told on these pages. Each one of those who died should be remembered and to serve as a reminder never to let humanity sink to these depths again. Also highlighted in this book was the risk and sacrifices made by the locals to help the POW's were possible and to give them a sense of hope.
Books such as this in my opinion are very important. Yes they are hard to read and make us face the evil humans are capable of. But they also show some of the best aspects of humanity that of, hope, compassion, self-sacrifice and one of forgiveness. Why we should never condone the evil shown in books like this. But we need to forgive so we can learn and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the right reason and not as a reason to hate.