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30 review for Miracle On The River Kwai

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    4.5 stars I first read this book when I was in my late teens and at the time I found it truly inspiring and it certainly shaped some of my own philosophy of life, faith and how both should be lived. Ernest Gordon tells of his own experiences starting from the summer of 1939 when he lived a rather carefree life filled with "gay regattas and long happy cruises" to the time he decided to join the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and on to his eventual capture in the ship Setia Berganti after attemp 4.5 stars I first read this book when I was in my late teens and at the time I found it truly inspiring and it certainly shaped some of my own philosophy of life, faith and how both should be lived. Ernest Gordon tells of his own experiences starting from the summer of 1939 when he lived a rather carefree life filled with "gay regattas and long happy cruises" to the time he decided to join the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and on to his eventual capture in the ship Setia Berganti after attempting to escape after the fall of Sumatra. He eventually found himself in a Japanese POW camp where he spent the next three and a half years. He started as many did in Changi camp, but it was just the first of many camps. He describes the brutality of the Japanese towards their captives but also points out that bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also cruel and that "Both sides undoubtedly justified their cruelties as serving to shorten the war. Millions in the Western world still see no connection between their own consciences and mass slaughter and accept no responsibility for those acts." Over time, Gordon suffered almost all the ills that could visit a person under such difficult circumstances and he found himself in what was called The Death House, with very little expectation of coming out of there alive. His description of the Death House was gut-wrenching to me: "The Death House had been built at one of the lowest points in the camp. The monsoon was on; the floor of the hut was a sea of mud. And the smells: the smell of tropical ulcers eating into flesh and bone; the smell of latrines overflowed, the smell of dirty men, untended men, sick men, of humanity rotting, humanity gone sour. Worst of all was the sweet, evil smell of bedbugs by the millions, crawling over us to seal the little flesh that clung to our bones. Men lay in rows, head to feet. One of the worst features in this jam of humanity was the loneliness; one never knew one's neighbour. Everyone was crowded together, but there was no blethering, no communion, no fellowship." Gordon was not expected to live and was in fact placed down at the morgue end of the hut at his own request so that at least he could have some quiet. From there,several soldiers approached him with the offer to build him a small hut if the medical officers would allow him to be released to their care. They openly discussed in his presence that it likely wouldn't be for long as he was so close to death. One photograph in the book shows just how cadaverous these men were and hos surprising it would be for any in like condition to survive, and yet survive he did because of the care that several men chose to lavish on him, massaging the pus from his leg ulcers, buying him food with lime juice to counteract beriberi and generally giving him the gift of hope. These were men of simple faith and it was a faith that called for love to be lived out in their daily actions towards each other. I read in Loet Velman's book "Long Way Back to the River Kwai" about a congregation of Jewish men in these prison camps and how they bonded together to support each other.Ernest Gordon tells a similar story from the Christian viewpoint about how simple actions of caring from one man to another led to a radical change in thinking and attitude for many as they learned of a faith based on the fact that Jesus had known their suffering and was at their side. He told of officers using their money to buy goods to help the lower ranked men to survive and how gradually a spirit was building up in the camp of caring for those in need. This was a radical change from what had been a case of every man for himself not so long ago. With these changes came renewed interest in education with individuals teaching classes based on their own knowledge and experiences. There were discussion groups,theatrical groups, even an orchestra with mostly home-made instruments. In one of the discussion groups someone pointed out that what people seemed to want was communism. The response was as follows:"No it bloody well ain't...Communism just means being forced to do what the state wants and calling it equality. That's all that is...Let me finish! A community is people doing instead of yapping. It ain't saying we are equal - it's doing it so that it's real. It ain't shouting about truth - it's doing it. It ain't barking about peace - it's being peaceful. You get my drift?" Later Gordon was transferred to other camps. One incident he described took place as their train was stopped next to another train with wounded Japanese prisoners. They were in a shocking state, receiving no care from their own men and appeared to be "waiting for death cowed and defeated than we had ever been." Most of the officers in Gordon's section "unbuckled their packs, took out part of their rations and a rag or two, and, with water canteens in their hands, went over to the Japanese train.Our guards tried to prevent us, bawling, "No goodka! No goodka!" But we ignored them and knelt down by the enemy to give water and food, to clean and bind up their wounds. Grateful cries of "Arragato!" (Thank you!) followed us as we left." When challenged by another Allied officer looking on, Ernest Gordon reminded him of he story of the Good Samaritan who went and helped the stranger who had been knocked down, robbed by thieves and left for dead. "But that's different!" the officer protested angrily. "That's in the Bible. These are the swine who have starved us and beaten us. These are our enemies." Gordon replies with the question "Who is my enemy. Isn't he my neighbour?" "We had experienced a moment of grace there in those blood-stained railway cars. God had broken through the barriers of our prejudice and had given us the will to obey his command "Thou shalt love."" This is a book that made me think and ponder on what makes us human and how we can respond to all the adversity that we face as individuals in life.Sometimes we have little left to us other than our ability to choose how we will react to our circumstances (see Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search For Meaning). This was a lesson Gordon learned and took with him beyond his time as a prisoner. I understand that this book has been republished under the titles Miracle on the River Kwai and To End All Wars. It has numerous illustrations by well known artists such as Charles Thrale, Ronald Searle, Stanley Gimson and Leo Rawlings who were all former prisoners of the Japanese as well. This book is one with a definite Christian bent and so may not appeal to all, but it is also a story of men who found hope where little was to be had and who lived out their hope in action to care for those around them. I highly recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is a reread. Believe it or not, the first time I read this was probably almost exactly 50 years ago. Because I know I read it when I knew so many that were in Vietnam and when I had a newborn baby myself. The reread made me so very aware of the spiritual nature that was honed within this author during this hell on earth he experienced. And also, how the writing then held so much less anger than it has for some time now (last 10 years especially). Although it could have owned (then just after This is a reread. Believe it or not, the first time I read this was probably almost exactly 50 years ago. Because I know I read it when I knew so many that were in Vietnam and when I had a newborn baby myself. The reread made me so very aware of the spiritual nature that was honed within this author during this hell on earth he experienced. And also, how the writing then held so much less anger than it has for some time now (last 10 years especially). Although it could have owned (then just after WWII) 50 times more if the "contretemps" attitudes and sensibilities of today would have flown. Because they just didn't fly then. What horrors in the photos too. Skeletons that are alive. Shortly and then not. Ernest Gordon's journey to faith and the aftermath of his 6 to 7 years is as excellent as is his "eyes" placements, facts, trials and life ending grade sicknesses throughout. The endings of his own survivor experience are even more poignant. If possible. Starvation with torture and being worked to death systematically in this manner as the Japanese did to 100,000's at a crack- has to be the worst of all atrocities. The sketches saved and few photos of the reality were 5 star. As is his faith in God.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    Of the twenty P.O.W. memoirs that I've read, Ernest Gordon's Miracle on the River Kwai is my favorite. (The book title was changed to To End All Wars to accommodate the 2001 film.) Published in 1963 it recounts Gordon's three years in a Japanese concentration camp in Thailand. I was drawn into the story by the splendid writing, but kept reading because of the mesmerizing stories of faith being lived out in the harshest of circumstances. Gordon was a young Scotsman whose pre-war life included col Of the twenty P.O.W. memoirs that I've read, Ernest Gordon's Miracle on the River Kwai is my favorite. (The book title was changed to To End All Wars to accommodate the 2001 film.) Published in 1963 it recounts Gordon's three years in a Japanese concentration camp in Thailand. I was drawn into the story by the splendid writing, but kept reading because of the mesmerizing stories of faith being lived out in the harshest of circumstances. Gordon was a young Scotsman whose pre-war life included college studies and yacht racing. When WWII broke out, he became an officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Captured after the fall of Singapore, he is taken to work on the Thailand/Burma Railroad. Japanese engineers calculated that the railroad would take 5 to 6 years to complete because of difficult terrain. But when they received permission to use "disposable" workers, they pushed the timeline to 18 months. It was every man for himself until a miracle of grace occurred. As men studied the Bible together, the camp atmosphere changed completely. Several men gave their lives to save others. Stories of their self-sacrifice began to outweigh tales of Japanese cruelty. The last portion of the novel shows the transforming power of God's love in mens' hearts. A very inspiring read. Gordon does not describe the torture and hardship in as much detail as other P.O.W. memoirs so this might be a good book for the squeamish. (If you love the book, you probably won't enjoy the movie which ups the violence and profanity and adds a lot of extra people and situations.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob Price

    Through the Valley of the Kwai may be familiar to some people as part of the back story for the book and the movie Bridge over the River Kwai , but if that's your only exposure to this story, you are missing out on the greater nature of what happened. Ernest Gordon was a cynical young man when he became a POW during WW2. When he became sick and was transferred to the 'Death House,' he pretty much figured his life was over. After all, not many people come out of the Death House. But Gordon's li Through the Valley of the Kwai may be familiar to some people as part of the back story for the book and the movie Bridge over the River Kwai , but if that's your only exposure to this story, you are missing out on the greater nature of what happened. Ernest Gordon was a cynical young man when he became a POW during WW2. When he became sick and was transferred to the 'Death House,' he pretty much figured his life was over. After all, not many people come out of the Death House. But Gordon's life was dramatically changed by the service of two young men. When Gordon recovered, he noticed the change brought about in people by Christianity. Gordon went to on become a lay minister in the camp and began to explain to other doubters the true nature of Christianity. This book is a book about faith. It demonstrates the awesome power faith may have to help people through the worst of situations. The men in the POW camp had nothing but their faith to rely on. And in a sense, this book is a microcosm of the good things Christianity has brought to civilization. When the men became revitalized in their faith, they became interested in philosophy, politics, the arts. They started their own band, put on plays and endured the hardships and horrors of war. Of particular interest is Gordon's description of the 'Church Without Walls.' As I read this book, this imagery struck me as a true picture of the church. Imagine if we could all conceive of the church as a community of bedraggled inmates searching for enough joy to keep going, but reaching out and serving all of those around them. Gordon's struggle with forgiving his enemies was moving. When we think of all the grudges we hold against people, this doesn't hold a candle to the suffering these men went through with their tormentors. Gordon reflects on Jesus' crucifixion and His willingness to forgive those who crucified him. Overall, reading this book encouraged my faith and I hope that others will read it to discover what faith can do in the face of severe suffering.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    After watching the movie "To End All Wars," I learned that this autobiography was the source for the film. Because I was so profoundly moved by the movie, I was excited to read the book. Yet, I would have to say that this is one of the few books I've come across that was not ultimately better than its film version... Nevertheless, it did have some highlight-able insights on Christian faith and relationships. A section I found especially profound came toward the end of the book when Gordon was lame After watching the movie "To End All Wars," I learned that this autobiography was the source for the film. Because I was so profoundly moved by the movie, I was excited to read the book. Yet, I would have to say that this is one of the few books I've come across that was not ultimately better than its film version... Nevertheless, it did have some highlight-able insights on Christian faith and relationships. A section I found especially profound came toward the end of the book when Gordon was lamenting about his and fellow POW's return to 'normal' life post WWII: "It meant a return to the cacophonous cocktail party as a substitute for fellowship, where, with glass in hand, men would touch each other but never meet. They would speak, but nothing would be said and nothing heard. They would look at their partners, but would not see them. With glassy eyes they would stare past them into nothingness."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Georgia Herod

    This was a reread for me. Ernest Gordon's story reveals the significance of enduring great hardship and suffering, and prevailing because of the decision to CHOOSE LIFE, rather than allow circumstances to control behavior. In the midst of the evil of a Japanese prison camp, a single Christian brings light and life--and one by one, others accept Christ and choose to LIVE. The sense of community and fellowship the men experience will challenge the readers about the shallowness of our "Christian fe This was a reread for me. Ernest Gordon's story reveals the significance of enduring great hardship and suffering, and prevailing because of the decision to CHOOSE LIFE, rather than allow circumstances to control behavior. In the midst of the evil of a Japanese prison camp, a single Christian brings light and life--and one by one, others accept Christ and choose to LIVE. The sense of community and fellowship the men experience will challenge the readers about the shallowness of our "Christian fellowship" we often experience in the US. We learn and grow through shared suffering--I've learned that through my own life experiences also, including becoming a young widow, divorce, disease, disappointment. Readers of Louie Zamperini's story in Unbroken will make connections--though Zamperini didn't encounter Christ in the cell.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laure

    Many of us have enjoyed the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring William Holden and Alec Guinness (released in 1957). Undoubtedly it is a great film, but it is also historically inaccurate according to Ernest Gordon, the author To End All Wars. Mr. Gordon, a Scottish captain during World War II, told his story as a first-person narrative, not just in order to set the record straight, but also because he was there and desired to bring to life again the many Allied pris Many of us have enjoyed the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring William Holden and Alec Guinness (released in 1957). Undoubtedly it is a great film, but it is also historically inaccurate according to Ernest Gordon, the author To End All Wars. Mr. Gordon, a Scottish captain during World War II, told his story as a first-person narrative, not just in order to set the record straight, but also because he was there and desired to bring to life again the many Allied prisoners of war who shared the tragic horror of inhumane treatment by the Japanese. The Burma-Thailand railway, nicknamed the “Railway of Death” for the tragic toll it incurred, was the notorious 280-mile stretch passing through rainforest and malarial swampland that caused death through injury, starvation, overwork, and tropical diseases. A quarter of a million Asian workers were forced to work with sixty thousand Allied prisoners of war. Over eighty thousand men died during the railway’s construction – 393 lives lost for every mile of track constructed. The brutality of the prisoner of war camps under the Japanese not only killed human beings, it destroyed souls. In To End All Wars, Mr. Gordon describes “the law of the jungle” that took over the hearts of prisoners and caused them to succumb to death even faster. The author takes readers on much more than simply a horrifying journey, however, because he found a way to rise above the suffering. Compassionate fellow inmates reached out to Gordon while he was in the “Death House” expected to die of complications of beriberi and began a transformation in his life that led to outward changes in camp life. This fascinating story offers graphic details of prison life and authentic historical context of the war in southeast Asia. I am not a war novel or autobiography “buff”, but I was both mesmerized and uplifted. Mr. Gordon had a gift for storytelling and used it well to offer a narrative filled with passion, humility, and honesty. I believe one of the primary reasons he survived this experience was so he could tell us about it to help us overcome evil with good in our own war-torn 21st century. “My father’s message and mission could be summed up in the word fellowship, a concept that guided him throughout his life. During his three-and-a-half years of captivity in the POW camps of southeast Asia, he learned the hardest lesson of all: to forgive- and even love- one’s enemies. These weren’t allegorical opponents from biblical times, but modern men of the twentieth century. While so many of his comrades were consumed by anger, he discovered a sustaining belief in God and the capacity for love – even in a death camp. “ Alastair Gordon, “In Memory of Ernest Gordon” 1916-2002, preface of To End All Wars). Mr. Gordon’s book was first published in Great Britain under the title Through the Valley of the Kwai (1963) and subsequently in the U.S. as Miracle on the River Kwai (1965). To End All Wars, (231 pages) was published by Zondervan in a 2002 edition with photos of the author, a preface by Mr. Gordon’s son offering a heartwarming epitaph of his father, and the author’s own reflections on his experience of returning to the River Kwai during the shooting of the film To End All Wars, a major motion picture starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland (released in 2001 and directed by David L. Cunningham). Check out other book reviews on my blog: http://pineneedlesandpapertrails.word...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laure

    Many of us have enjoyed the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring William Holden and Alec Guinness (released in 1957). Undoubtedly it is a great film, but it is also historically inaccurate according to Ernest Gordon, the author To End All Wars. Mr. Gordon, a Scottish captain during World War II, told his story as a first-person narrative, not just in order to set the record straight, but also because he was there and desired to bring to life again the many Allied pris Many of us have enjoyed the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring William Holden and Alec Guinness (released in 1957). Undoubtedly it is a great film, but it is also historically inaccurate according to Ernest Gordon, the author To End All Wars. Mr. Gordon, a Scottish captain during World War II, told his story as a first-person narrative, not just in order to set the record straight, but also because he was there and desired to bring to life again the many Allied prisoners of war who shared the tragic horror of inhumane treatment by the Japanese. The Burma-Thailand railway, nicknamed the “Railway of Death” for the tragic toll it incurred, was the notorious 280-mile stretch passing through rainforest and malarial swampland that caused death through injury, starvation, overwork, and tropical diseases. A quarter of a million Asian workers were forced to work with sixty thousand Allied prisoners of war. Over eighty thousand men died during the railway’s construction – 393 lives lost for every mile of track constructed. The brutality of the prisoner of war camps under the Japanese not only killed human beings, it destroyed souls. In To End All Wars, Mr. Gordon describes “the law of the jungle” that took over the hearts of prisoners and caused them to succumb to death even faster. The author takes readers on much more than simply a horrifying journey, however, because he found a way to rise above the suffering. Compassionate fellow inmates reached out to Gordon while he was in the “Death House” expected to die of complications of beriberi and began a transformation in his life that led to outward changes in camp life. This fascinating story offers graphic details of prison life and authentic historical context of the war in southeast Asia. I am not a war novel or autobiography “buff”, but I was both mesmerized and uplifted. Mr. Gordon had a gift for storytelling and used it well to offer a narrative filled with passion, humility, and honesty. I believe one of the primary reasons he survived this experience was so he could tell us about it to help us overcome evil with good in our own war-torn 21st century. “My father’s message and mission could be summed up in the word fellowship, a concept that guided him throughout his life. During his three-and-a-half years of captivity in the POW camps of southeast Asia, he learned the hardest lesson of all: to forgive- and even love- one’s enemies. These weren’t allegorical opponents from biblical times, but modern men of the twentieth century. While so many of his comrades were consumed by anger, he discovered a sustaining belief in God and the capacity for love – even in a death camp. “ Alastair Gordon, “In Memory of Ernest Gordon” 1916-2002, preface of To End All Wars). Mr. Gordon’s book was first published in Great Britain under the title Through the Valley of the Kwai (1963) and subsequently in the U.S. as Miracle on the River Kwai (1965). To End All Wars, (231 pages) was published by Zondervan in a 2002 edition with photos of the author, a preface by Mr. Gordon’s son offering a heartwarming epitaph of his father, and the author’s own reflections on his experience of returning to the River Kwai during the shooting of the film To End All Wars, a major motion picture starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland (released in 2001 and directed by David L. Cunningham).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    In 1942 Scotsman Ernie Gordon was captured by the Japanese and sent to a prison camp in Thailand where he was forced to build the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai. When he first came to the camp, men lived by the rule of the jungle, "every man for himself" and survival of the fittest. Men were left to die alone in the Death Houses from malaria or malnutrition. Stealing food was rampant and a general spirit of hopelessness pervaded the camp. Ernie himself almost succumbed to death until a Christ In 1942 Scotsman Ernie Gordon was captured by the Japanese and sent to a prison camp in Thailand where he was forced to build the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai. When he first came to the camp, men lived by the rule of the jungle, "every man for himself" and survival of the fittest. Men were left to die alone in the Death Houses from malaria or malnutrition. Stealing food was rampant and a general spirit of hopelessness pervaded the camp. Ernie himself almost succumbed to death until a Christian man helped nurse him back to health. God's spirit was on the move. The camp began to change: the torturous work stayed the same, but the attitudes of the men were being revived. Men began sharing their food and cleaning their barracks, sweeping the dirt away with their hopelessness. One man even gathered up the pus-soaked rags from the sick house and boiled them to be used again. Most interesting to me was how the soldiers became interested in education and impromptu lessons began on anything from Greek to mechanics. They formed an orchestra and had art showings, having made their brushes from human hair and their paint from vegetable dyes. This book is not always easy to read, but well worth your time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    This is my review of Through the Valley of the Kwai which is the original title of To End All Wars: Outstanding book! I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be a former POW's story of how the bridge over the River Kwai was built, the brutality he endured, and the particulars of life in a Japanese work camp. Instead we are treated to the story of Ernest Gordon's profound spiritual journey from skeptic to brother of Christ. The doctrine is simply stated but solid and very relevant for to This is my review of Through the Valley of the Kwai which is the original title of To End All Wars: Outstanding book! I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be a former POW's story of how the bridge over the River Kwai was built, the brutality he endured, and the particulars of life in a Japanese work camp. Instead we are treated to the story of Ernest Gordon's profound spiritual journey from skeptic to brother of Christ. The doctrine is simply stated but solid and very relevant for today's Christian. Strip away everything from a man -- creature comforts, loved ones, food, clothing, health, even one's own future -- surround him with enemies and what does he have left? Gordon shows that through Christ one can still have hope and that is the most important thing to have even when all the other "stuff" has been stripped away. FYI: This book was also republished under the title Miracle on the River Kwai.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    This is my review of Through the Valley of the Kwai which is the original title of Miracle on the River Kwai: Outstanding book! I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be a former POW's story of how the bridge over the River Kwai was built, the brutality he endured, and the particulars of life in a Japanese work camp. Instead we are treated to the story of Ernest Gordon's profound spiritual journey from skeptic to brother of Christ. The doctrine is simply stated but solid and very releva This is my review of Through the Valley of the Kwai which is the original title of Miracle on the River Kwai: Outstanding book! I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be a former POW's story of how the bridge over the River Kwai was built, the brutality he endured, and the particulars of life in a Japanese work camp. Instead we are treated to the story of Ernest Gordon's profound spiritual journey from skeptic to brother of Christ. The doctrine is simply stated but solid and very relevant for today's Christian. Strip away everything from a man -- creature comforts, loved ones, food, clothing, health, even one's own future -- surround him with enemies and what does he have left? Gordon shows that through Christ one can still have hope and that is the most important thing to have even when all the other "stuff" has been stripped away. FYI: This book was later republished under the title To End All Wars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This was an inspiring book. Through extreme deprivation and cruelty British Prisoners of war learn how to love one another. Ernest Gordon was a POW in Thailand during the Pacific struggle against the Japanese in WWII. He recounts the amazing transformation that occurred in three different camps. They went from fighting each other to survive the harsh conditions to sacrificially laying down their lives for one another. The main catalyst of the transformation was Jesus. By reading the gospels many This was an inspiring book. Through extreme deprivation and cruelty British Prisoners of war learn how to love one another. Ernest Gordon was a POW in Thailand during the Pacific struggle against the Japanese in WWII. He recounts the amazing transformation that occurred in three different camps. They went from fighting each other to survive the harsh conditions to sacrificially laying down their lives for one another. The main catalyst of the transformation was Jesus. By reading the gospels many became Christians and imitated Christ's suffering and sacrificial life. Stories of sacrifice abound such as one man's determination to save a friend who was gravely ill. He gave his meager ration of rice to him everyday. Upon his friends recovery he collapsed. The doctors determined he died of starvation. Highly recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sally Ewan

    I decided to read this book after seeing the movie of the same name. I liked it even more than the movie, because the author was able to speak directly to the way that the Christian faith impacted the prisoners of war, inspiring and encouraging them. It was very interesting to go to church this morning after having read about these men struggling to find meaning and purpose in the midst of their suffering, and how they found God in those horrible circumstances. The modern church--MY church--is f I decided to read this book after seeing the movie of the same name. I liked it even more than the movie, because the author was able to speak directly to the way that the Christian faith impacted the prisoners of war, inspiring and encouraging them. It was very interesting to go to church this morning after having read about these men struggling to find meaning and purpose in the midst of their suffering, and how they found God in those horrible circumstances. The modern church--MY church--is far too comfortable and complacent.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    This book was renamed To End All Wars and made into a movie about 2 years ago. It is the true story of Ernest GOrdon being a POW in Thailand and meeting Jesus Christ. Before he died, he was able to see this movie finished. He said, "It is as it was" He was able to meet his enemy and forgive him. Ernest GOrdon was a close and personla friend of our family and I was honored to know such a GREAT man. This book was renamed To End All Wars and made into a movie about 2 years ago. It is the true story of Ernest GOrdon being a POW in Thailand and meeting Jesus Christ. Before he died, he was able to see this movie finished. He said, "It is as it was" He was able to meet his enemy and forgive him. Ernest GOrdon was a close and personla friend of our family and I was honored to know such a GREAT man.

  15. 5 out of 5

    kara

    great book on developing community in impossible times. It's an autobiography of a man's experiences in Japanese prisoner of war camp but more than that, it's the story of how he found Christ in the midst of suffering and lived out his example among his fellow prisoners. One of my favorite books...A great read! great book on developing community in impossible times. It's an autobiography of a man's experiences in Japanese prisoner of war camp but more than that, it's the story of how he found Christ in the midst of suffering and lived out his example among his fellow prisoners. One of my favorite books...A great read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a surprisingly uplifting story! I knew about the suffering of the POWs & Asians who build the "railroad of death" in the Kwai River valley. Here is an eyewitness account of a Scottish agnostic officer who not only survived, but who also met God in a personal way. Ernest Gordon eventually served as Dean of Princeton Chapel in the USA. He passed away in 2002. What a surprisingly uplifting story! I knew about the suffering of the POWs & Asians who build the "railroad of death" in the Kwai River valley. Here is an eyewitness account of a Scottish agnostic officer who not only survived, but who also met God in a personal way. Ernest Gordon eventually served as Dean of Princeton Chapel in the USA. He passed away in 2002.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Storey

    Great story of survival and the power of redemption even in the face of atrocity! It's pretty much the story of a spiritual revival that took place amongst prisoners of war that were in the Japanese death camps in Thailand during World War II. I think if there was ever a difficult time to love your enemies this book describes it. Great book - quite similar to "The Hiding Place." Great story of survival and the power of redemption even in the face of atrocity! It's pretty much the story of a spiritual revival that took place amongst prisoners of war that were in the Japanese death camps in Thailand during World War II. I think if there was ever a difficult time to love your enemies this book describes it. Great book - quite similar to "The Hiding Place."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles Thornton

    One of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I have a very short attention span which means there have been very few books I just could not put down once I started reading them. This is one of them. This book will remind every Christ follower that how they live out their lives can change someone else's destiny. One of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I have a very short attention span which means there have been very few books I just could not put down once I started reading them. This is one of them. This book will remind every Christ follower that how they live out their lives can change someone else's destiny.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This is a wonderful book about the power of the Gospel to radically change people even in the midst of circumstances that seem impossible! It is the story of a POW who is saved during his captivity and the changes that the Gospel brings to the camp.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A fantastic read on finding meaning in life through difficult circumstances.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Inspiring story of survival in Japanese prison camps. Better than movie.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike Print

    This is a great book about a guy who survived a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Really good!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Noemi Vega

    Gordon does an incredible job describing the Changkai POW camp during WWII and the journey from death to life that they experienced. Incredible read, I seriously recommend it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    One of the best stories of humanity and redemption I've ever encountered, and the best part...it's a true story. Awesome! One of the best stories of humanity and redemption I've ever encountered, and the best part...it's a true story. Awesome!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Truly inspiring and a great film too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    James Burns

    The True Story of The Bridge over the River Kwai

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Excellent, true-life story from the perspective of a POW that also explores spirituality and belief in God.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wit

    The true story of a survivor of a WWII Japanese POW camp.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    One of my favorite movies (To End All Wars, 2001) is based on this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nikara Schehr

    Years have passed since World War II, and many new generations know less and less of what happened to the boys and men thrown into war. I myself didn’t know much about the specific details of war that few can remember. There have been many WWII memoirs written to tell a soldier’s story, but Ernest Gordon’s Through the Valley of the Kwai caught my attention. I was intrigued to hear more about the Pacific during the war and was excited by the idea that I could read about something that fascinates Years have passed since World War II, and many new generations know less and less of what happened to the boys and men thrown into war. I myself didn’t know much about the specific details of war that few can remember. There have been many WWII memoirs written to tell a soldier’s story, but Ernest Gordon’s Through the Valley of the Kwai caught my attention. I was intrigued to hear more about the Pacific during the war and was excited by the idea that I could read about something that fascinates both me and my grandfather. Reading the memoir itself, I couldn’t help but realize that Gordon had a way with words that filled you with dread, and sorrow, and despair, and happiness, and faith, and joy. But most of all, love. Gordon forces the readers to have every feeling that he felt and isn’t afraid to have others understand that he struggled too. As I was into the story, I came across many quotes that caught my eye, ranging from memories to beautiful description. One quote that really stood out to me was when all of these men came across treasured items in the camp and started to fight like wild animals “... except that an animal would have had more dignity”(pg 76) compared to the men that suffocate in the surrounding jungle. I was very shocked to see this officier compare both himself and the men to the animals that they didn’t know much about. It was saddening to me to see he admitted defeat, to see nature won over, to see the men that were reduced to a primal “survival of the fittest”. I discovered that even though people (like me) have tried to be tough, if I was dragged into that moment, I wouldn’t have been strong enough. The experiences that Gordon faced are something that only a handful of men alive today can relate to. This story is unique in the idea that not all humans are as resilient as they may seem to be. Humans have lived through many years and war is commonly known by everyone. While others learn about it through textbooks, people like Gordon and his friend Dusty have lived it. While Gordon was bedridden from multiple diseases, Dusty came to his rescue and they started to talk. One conversation they had involved what they would do after the war and Dusty told Gordon that he wanted “... to remind people of the beauty that outlasts the ugliness of war” (pg 95) that occurs all around them. Dusty wanted to bring peace to the world and help out wherever he could. Reading about the feelings he had about war reminded me that I don’t know what war is like. I haven’t known war close to my home like others before me. I can’t relate to Gordon or Dusty’s situation. I can’t honestly relate to their lives because I feel that by trying to connect with the author, I am drowning out the truth from the past. I can’t try in vain to compare myself, I can only read and reflect on his life. Connecting to the situation would reverse the main reason Gordon wrote the book. Gordon did not write the book to give the people entertainment, he wanted to give readers the truth that the world was being fed blindly. Overall, the book was enlightening to read. I saw the hope that men got when they finally found that light at the end of the tunnel. The humanity that came and went in each man trapped by prejudice. Almost 60 years since the memoir was published and I can still enjoy it like I enjoy any other book I have picked up. This memoir is a tale of humanity; the beauty, the ugly, and the formidable nature that it is. Humanity has the ability to get back up again, even in troubling times.

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