THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE KWAI by Ernest Gordon
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THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE KWAI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is an inspiring and gripping story of the experiences of the author as a Japanese prisoner of war. The commander of the 93rd Highlanders, Gordon and his Argylls, what was left of them, were among the thousands of prisoners taken at Singapore. After the failure of an attempted escape by boat, Gordon found himself in the prison camp of Changhi on the Island of Singapore. Here he began his 3(apple) years as a ""guest"" of the Japanese, being transferred from camp to camp in Malaya and Thailand. He relates successive incidents of the murder of prisoners overtly by shooting or decapitation and, covertly, by a starvation diet, by torture, by neglect of the sick and wounded. Gordon himself, stronger physically than most, succumbed to dysentery, malaria, diphtheria and finally landed in the ""Death House"" where hopeless cases were left to die. Miraculously saved from that fate, he was transferred to a hut built by some of his comrades, bathed, and tenderly nursed back to health. His example gave hope to the despairing, and the ""miracle of the River Kwai"" began. Two prisoners learned how to make artificial legs from scrap material and taught others to perform this service for the amputees. Classes in history, philosophy, even the classics were started. Orchestra and painting classes were organized. Despair gave way to hope and faith; service to others lifted the common life to a truly spiritual level, devoutly expressed in the Church of the Open Air. For Gordon to enter the ministry after the War and to become eventually the Dean of the Chapel at Princeton seems the right and natural aftergrowth of his experience. This should have more than simply a religious area of appeal. Watch it.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1962
Publisher: Harper