The Ethic Of Prison Camp Survival

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One of the greatest accounts of suffering and survival that I’ve read is the book Prisoners of the Japanese by writer Gavan Daws.  It’s a compendium of anecdotes, stories, and harrowing accounts of Allied prisoners taken by the Japanese Army in the Pacific.

More than this, it is a painstakingly-assembed oral record of the men–almost all of them dead now–who lived and survived in now-forgotten hellholes like Changi Prison, Cabanatuan, the Burma-Siam railroad, Davao, and a dozen other places.

Thousands of men from the armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, and the Netherlands were done to death in these camps, either by disease, forced labor, starvation, or related causes.

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