Prisoner of the Samurai: Surviving the Sinking of the USS Houston and the Death Railway

We rated this book:


You’ve heard the phrase plenty of times. “The horrors of war.” But rarely have those horrors been as tangible as they are in Prisoner of the Samurai, a harrowing look inside the POW camps in the South Pacific, told by a young, impressionable soldier who survived them.

Starvation, disease, overwork, mistreatment, violence…James Gee endured it all after his ship was sunk in the Pacific and he was taken prisoner by the Japanese forces.

And yet, despite all the deaths, the horrific treatment, and the trauma that ensued, this still remains a remarkably optimistic book. Gee focuses on the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers, all the times they banded together to care for and defend each other, trading for supplies, stealing extra food, bargaining for scarce medicines, trying their damnedest to keep friends, brothers, and even strangers alive.

Perhaps the most haunting are the human moments with the enemy, those times when the Japanese guards who had no desire to harm the prisoners or even to go to war in the first place.

It’s an eye-opening read, to be sure, one that brings the worst of war and the best of humanity to light all at once.

Reviewed By:

Author James Gee • Rosalie H. Smith • Allyson Smith, Editor
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Casemate
Publish Date 2018-Mar-08
ISBN 9781612005973
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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