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See below for a selection of the latest books from Prisoners of war category. Presented with a red border are the Prisoners of war books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Prisoners of war books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
Over the twentieth century 35,000 Australians suffered as prisoners of war in conflicts ranging from World War I to Korea. What was the reality of their captivity? Beyond Surrender presents for the first time the diversity of the Australian 'behind-the-wire' experience, dissecting fact from fiction and myth from reality. Beyond Surrender examines the impact that different types of camps, commandants and locations had on surrender, survival, prison life and the prospects of escape. It considers the attitudes of Australian governments to those who had surrendered, the work of relief agencies and the agony of families waiting at home for their husbands, brothers and fathers to be freed. Covering several conflicts and diverse sites of captivity, Beyond Surrender showcases new research from Kate Ariotti, Joan Beaumont, Lachlan Grant, Jeffrey Grey, Karl James, Jennifer Lawless, Peter Monteath, Melanie Oppenheimer, Aaron Pegram, Lucy Robertson, Seumas Spark and Christina Twomey.
After surviving the brutal Bataan Death March in spring 1942, Louisiana native John Henry Poncio spent the remainder of World War II as a Japanese prisoner, first at Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines and later at Hirohata in Japan. In those three and a half years, U.S. Army Air Corps sergeant Poncio suffered severe beatings, starvation, disease, and emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of his captors. However, his resiliency, sense of humor, and cunning helped him to persist and to recover from the traumatic events without rancor toward the Japanese. In Girocho, he relates his experiences as a POW with touching honesty, vividly describing the harsh conditions he and his comrades endured as well as the sometimes-funny clashes with Japanese culture. Girocho was a samurai who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, a Japanese Robin Hood. Early on, Poncio was given this name in jest by one of the prison guards, and it suited him perfectly. During his internment, he took part in a vast smuggling operation that brought food, money, mail, and other supplies into the POW camps; he reported enemy troop movements to Filipino guerrillas and participated in acts of sabotage. He and the other prisoners worked together incessantly to subvert the Japanese war effort even under the threat of death, going so far as to bury expensive calibration equipment in wet cement and build irregular gears for planes. To frustrate their captors and to stay alive, the American POWs developed the technique going Asiatic - maintaining a blank expression during interrogations and beatings and escaping mentally for a time. Although he and his fellow captives were treated with cruelty by many, Poncio recalls the camaraderie of the prisoners and encounters with humane guards and kind civilians, proving his remarkable gift for finding the positive in the most dire of situations. Girocho is an inspiring memoir, transcribed verbatim by Poncio's wife, Inez, from nine hours of cassettes Poncio recorded some years after the war. Marlin Young verified her uncle's stories, placed them in chronological order, and set them within the greater context of the war, creating a compelling tale of one soldier's courage, honor, and resolve to overcome life as a prisoner of war. Their book is a fitting tribute to the POWs in the Pacific, who fought in their unique way for the U.S. war effort, their friends, and their very lives.
On April 9, 1942, Gen. Edward King, commander of the Fil-American forces in Bataan, surrendered to the Japanese. To this day, it remains the largest American army in history to surrender, numbering more than 70,000 Filipinos and Americans. After the surrender the Japanese marched their captives to different locations in what became known as the Death March, a 55-mile stretch from Mariveles, Bataan, to San Fernando, Pampanga. Thousands of soldiers died in the march; some were shot by their captors and others succumbed to disease, starvation, or painful dehydration. Anton F. Bilek was only twenty-two years old when he was captured in Bataan. No Uncle Sam is his story of survival through the Death March, his imprisonment under horrific conditions in the Philippines and Japan, and his servitude as a slave laborer in the Japanese coal mines. Bilek addresses the frustration, anger, fear, humor, hope, and courage that he and other Americans shared during their captivity and their silence about these experiences for many years after their release from the POW camps. After almost 40 years Bilek decided to write about his experiences, and this memoir is the result. Those who are interested in history and the incredible resilience of human beings must read this tale of survival.
Mick and Margery Jenning's comfortable life in Singapore ended with the Japanese invasion in late 1941\. Margery was captured in Sumatra after HMV Mata Hari, the ship taking her and other families to safety in Australia, was bombed. Mick left Singapore after the surrender in February 1942 when he and other soldiers commandeered a junk and sailed to Sumatra. After crossing the island, he and Bombardier Jackson set sail for Australia in a seventeen-foot dinghy. After an appalling ordeal at sea he too was captured and, having recovered in hospital, was incarcerated on Sumatra until moved to Changi Goal in May 1945. Despite not being far apart, Mick and Margery never saw each other again, although they managed to exchange a few letters. Tragically Margery died of deprivation and exhaustion in May 1945, shortly before VJ day, while Mick miraculously survived. Based on personal accounts and Margery's secret diary, this outstanding book describes in graphic detail their attempted escapes and horrific imprisonments. Above all it is a moving testimony to the couple's courage, resilience and ingenuity.
Enjoy your homes. Enjoy your food. There is nothing that can take their place. Half a world away from her home in Manitoulin Island, Ethel Mulvany is starving in Singapore's infamous Changi Prison, along with hundreds of other women jailed there as POWs during the Second World War. They beat back pangs of hunger by playing decadent games of make-believe and writing down recipes filled with cream, raisins, chocolate, butter, cinnamon, ripe fruit-the unattainable ingredients of peacetime, of home, of memory. In this novelistic, immersive biography, Suzanne Evans presents a truly individual account of WWII through the eyes of Ethel-mercurial, enterprising, combative, stubborn, and wholly herself. The Taste of Longing follows Ethel through the fall of Singapore in 1942, the years of her internment, and beyond. As a prisoner, she devours dog biscuits and book spines, befriends spiders and smugglers, and endures torture and solitary confinement. As a free woman back in Canada, she fights to build a life for herself in the midst of trauma and burgeoning mental illness. Woven with vintage recipes and transcribed tape recordings, the story of Ethel and her fantastical POW Cookbook is a testament to the often-overlooked strength of women in wartime. It's a story of the unbreakable power of imagination, generosity, and pure heart.
The battle for Stalingrad has been studied and recalled in exhaustive detail ever since the Red Army trapped the German 6th Army in the ruined city in 1942. Graphic first-hand accounts of the fighting have been published by soldiers of all ranks on both sides, so we have today an extraordinarily precise picture of the grim experience of the struggle from the individual's viewpoint. But most of these accounts finish at the end of the battle, with columns of tens of thousands of German soldiers disappearing into Soviet captivity. Their fate is rarely described. That is why Adelbert Holl's harrowing and vivid memoir of his seven-year ordeal as a prisoner in the Soviet camps is such an important record as well as an absorbing story.
Very few British soldiers could lay claim to such a full war as Leslie Young. Having survived the retreat to and evacuation from Dunkirk, he volunteered for the newly formed Commandos and took part in their first operation, the raid on the Lofoten Islands. He fought and was captured in Tunisia. He went on the run before his POW camp at Fontanellato was taken over by the Nazis after the September 1943 Italian armistice. He spent six months on the run in the Apennine mountains aided by brave and selfless Italians. Many of whom were actively fighting their occupiers. He eventually reached Allied lines but not before several his companions were tragically killed by both German and American fire. On return to England he immediately signed up for the invasion of North West Europe and despite being wounded eventually fought through to Germany. It is thanks to his son's research that Major Young's story can now be told. It is an inspiring and thrilling account which demands to be read.
On 8 May 1945, 46-year-old Drum Major Jackson staggered towards his American liberators. Emaciated, dressed in rags, his decayed boots held together with string, he'd been force-marched for twenty days over the Austrian Alps after five heinous years as a POW in Nazi labour camps. He collapsed into his liberators' arms, clinging to his only meaningful possession his war diary. Having already experienced the horrific nature of battle in the First World War, Jackson continued as a drum major in the Territorial Army, as well as leading a dance band throughout the 1920s. Following Britain's declaration of war against Germany in 1939, he went off to war once again and was captured during the Allied retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. When the Germans learned of his musical abilities, he was put in charge of forming a band. They called him the 'Kapellmeister', literally, 'the man in charge of making music', and over the next five years, Jackson and his fellow bandmates would entertain the Germans with concerts and shows in various labour camps throughout occupied Poland. In this captivating testament to human endurance, Jackson's granddaughter has used his personal diary and photographs to tell the unforgettable and gripping true story about the life and times of a humble man who, through his passion for music, overcame extreme adversity.
Concentration camps are a relatively new invention, a recurring feature of twentieth century warfare, and one that is important to the modern global consciousness and identity. Although the most famous concentration camps are those under the Nazis, the use of concentration camps originated several decades before the Third Reich, in the Philippines and in the Boer War, and they have been used again in numerous locations, not least during the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda. Over the course of the twentieth century they have become defining symbols of humankind's lowest point and basest acts. In this Very Short Introduction, Dan Stone gives a global history of concentration camps, and shows that it is not only mad dictators who have set up camps, but instead all varieties of states, including liberal democracies, that have made use of them. Setting concentration camps against the longer history of incarceration, he explains how the ability of the modern state to control populations led to the creation of this extreme institution. Looking at their emergence and spread around the world, Stone argues that concentration camps serve the purpose, from the point of view of the state in crisis, of removing a section of the population that is perceived to be threatening, traitorous, or diseased. Drawing on contemporary accounts of camps, as well as the philosophical literature surrounding them, Stone considers the story camps tell us about the nature of the modern world as well as about specific regimes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Winner of the Britain at War Book of the Month Award for May 2019. Churchill's Abandoned Prisoners tells the previously suppressed story of fifteen British prisoners captured during the Russian civil war. The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 seriously compromised the Allied war effort. That threat rather than an ideological wish to defeat the Bolsheviks was the driving force behind the formation of an Allied force including British, American, French, Czech, Italian, Greek and Japanese troops, who were stationed to locations across Russia to suppor t the anti-Bolsheviks (the 'White Russians'). But war-weariness and equivocation about getting involved in the Civil War led the Allied powers to dispatch a sufficient number of troops to maintain a show of interest in Russia's fate, but not enough to give the 'Whites' a real chance of victory. Caught up in these events is Emmerson MacMillan, an American engineer who through loyalty to his Scottish roots joins the British army in 1918. Emmerson travels to England, where he trains with the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps and volunteers for service in the Far East. The book explains how the bitter fighting ebbed and flowed along the Trans-Siberian Railway for eighteen months, until Trotsky's Red Army prevailed. It includes the exploits of the only two British battalions to serve in the East, the Diehards and Tigers . An important chapter describes the fractious relationships between the Allies, together with the unenviable dilemmas faced by the commander of the American Expeditionary Force and the humanitarian work of the Red Cross. The focus turns to the deeds of Emmerson and the other soldiers in the select British group, who are ordered to remain to the last and organise the evacuation of refugees from Omsk in November 1919. After saving thousands of lives, they leave on the last train out of the city before it is seized by the Bolsheviks. Their mad dash for freedom in temperatures below forty degrees centigrade ends abruptly, when they are captured in Krasnoyarsk. Abandoned without communications or mail, they endure a fearful detention with two of them succumbing to typhus. The deserted group become an embarrassment to the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George and the War Secretary, Winston Churchill after a secret agreement fails to secure the release of the British prisoners. Deceived in Irkutsk, they are sent 3,500 miles to Moscow and imprisoned in notorious jails. After a traumatic incarceration, they are eventually released, having survived against all the odds. The spectre of armed conflict between Russia and the West has dramatically increased with points of tension stretching from the Arctic to Aleppo, while cyber warfare and election interference further increase pressure. As a new Cold War hots up it is ever-more important to understand the origins of the modern relationship between Russia and the West. The events described in this book are not only a stirring tale of courage and adventure but also only lift the lid on an episode that did much to sow distrust and precipitate events in World War Two and today.
It took me three minutes to get through the tunnel. Above ground I crawled along holding the rope for several feet: it was tied to a tree. Sergeant Bergsland joined me; we arranged our clothes and walked to the Sagan railway station. 'Bergsland was wearing a civilian suit he had made for himself from a Royal Marine uniform, with an RAF overcoat slightly altered with brown leather sewn over the buttons. A black RAF tie, no hat. He carried a small suitcase which had been sent from Norway. In it were Norwegian toothpaste and soap, sandwiches, and 163 Reichsmarks given to him by the Escape Committee. We caught the 2:04 train to Frankfurt an der Oder. Our papers stated we were Norwegian electricians from the Labour camp in Frankfurt working in the vicinity of Sagan.' Jens Muller was one of only three men who successfully escaped from Stalag Luft III in March 1944 - the break that later became the basis for the famous film the Great Escape . Muller was no. 43 of the 76 prisoners of war who managed to escape from the camp (now in ?aga? Poland). Together with Per Bergsland he stowed away on a ship to Gothenburg. The escapees sought out the British consulate and were flown from Stockholm and were flown to Scotland. From there they were sent by train to London and shortly afterwards to 'Little Norway' in Canada. Muller's book about his wartime experiences was first published in Norwegian in 1946, titled, 'Tre kom tilbake' (Three Came Back). This is the first translation into English and will correct the impression - set by the film and Charles Bronson - that the men who escaped successfully were American and Australian. In a vivid, informative memoir he details what life in the camp was like, how the escapes were planned and executed and tells the story of his personal breakout and success reaching RAF Leuchars base in Scotland.