Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Friday, February 06, 2015

THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH

I recently finished reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. It won the Man Booker Prize for 2014. The story is about Australian soldiers captured by the Japanese in World War 2. The prisoners of War were forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. The prisoners were treated like slaves and had to put up with endless manual labor, cholera, malaria and beatings by the Japanese. Dorrigo Evans is a surgeon who tries his best to protect his men. Evans’ life and loves are interwoven with the awful work of the prisoners/slaves.

What makes this book really unusual is that the lives and thoughts and values and philosophy of the Japanese engineers and soldiers are also explored. We discover what motivates their cruelty, loyalty to the Emperor and the radically different view of life they have. This is the first book I have ever read that gave us a picture of the humanity of the Japanese soldiers as they carried out great atrocities.


The professional and love life of Evans give the book another view of the mind and behavior of the European-Australian and Americans who fought inn that terrible war.

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