Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Format: Paperback
The cruelty and depravity demonstrated by the Japanese during their occupation of Hong Kong between 1941 and 1945 is one of the less well-documented chapters of the Second World War. Yet, as George Wright-Nooth demonstrates with such freshness and clarity in this autobiographical account, it is as great a story of heroism, endurance, and poignancy as any other of its time. The image of 33 individuals, British, Chinese and Indian, preparing to be executed by beheading, and being comforted from among their own group by an Sandhurst-trained Indian officer and a Hong Kong Chinese man leading prayers will long remain in the mind. What also brings the book to life are the diary extracts and the author's excellent memory for detail, which superbly capture the sense of a young Englishman caught in the sweep and suffering of a wider tragedy, but somehow retaining his spirit, his inquisitiveness and that uniquely British sense of humour that shines undimmed through fifty years and the terrible things he saw and experienced.

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