In two parts, the first a very capable recounting of the Japanese capture of Singapore, the symbol of Britain's imperial power in Asia which was attacked by air on the same day as Pearl Harbor and fell to the tactically brilliant General Yamashita just ten weeks later, inflicting on the British ""the greatest military disaster in their history"" (an exaggeration perhaps but not far off the mark). The second section deals with the aftermath, particularly for the prisoners of war; Caffrey -- who has perused the requisite primary and secondary sources and conducted numerous interviews -- describes the men's treatment, privations, and camp language (the incorporation of pidgin, for instance -- ""Nippon presento baby soldier cigarette-ka?""). Although there are occasionally similar flashes, no one will mistake Kate Caffrey for Barbara Tuchman; but this should mildly interest most mad dogs and Englishmen. . . .