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This is the story of the three-year ordeal of the Sandakan prisoners of war—a barely known episode of unimaginable horror.
After the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese conquerors transferred 2700 British and Australian prisoners to a jungle camp some eight miles inland of Sandakan, on the east coast of North Borneo. For decades after the Second World War, the Australian and British governments would refuse to divulge the truth of what happened here, for fear of traumatizing the families of the victims and enraging the people. The prisoners were broken, beaten, worked to death, thrown into bamboo cages on the slightest pretext, starved and subjected to tortures so hideous that none survived the onslaught with their minds intact, and only an incredibly resilient few managed to withstand the pain without yielding to the hated Kempei-tai, the Japanese military police.
But this was only the beginning of the nightmare. In late 1944, Allied aircraft were attacking the coastal towns of Sandakan and Jesselton. To escape the bombardment, the Japanese resolved to abandon the Sandakan prison camp and move 250 miles inland to Ranau, taking the prisoners with them as slave labor, carriers, and draft horses. Their journey became known as the Sandakan Death Marches. Of the 2700 prisoners originally sent to Sandakan, only six—all of them Australians—would survive.
This important and harrowing audiobook narrates the full story of Sandakan, as told through the experiences of the participants. Paul Ham has interviewed the families of survivors and the deceased, in Australia, Britain and Borneo, and consulted thousands of court documents in an effort to piece together exactly what happened to the people who suffered and died in British North Borneo, and who was responsible.
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PAUL HAM is a historian specialising in 20th century conflict, war and politics. Born and raised in Sydney, Paul has spent his working life in London, Sydney and Paris. His books have been published to critical acclaim in Australia, Britain and the United States, and include: 'Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth', a new history of one of the worst conflicts on the Western Front (Penguin Random House 2016); 'Hiroshima Nagasaki', a controversial history of the atomic bombings (HarperCollins Australia 2010, Penguin Random House UK 2011, & Pan Macmillan USA 2014-15); '1914: The Year The World Ended' (Penguin Random House 2013); 'Sandakan' (Penguin Random House 2011); 'Vietnam: The Australian War' and 'Kokoda' (both published by HarperCollins, 2007 and 2004). Paul has co-written two ABC documentaries based on his work: 'Kokoda' (2010), a 2-part series on the defeat of the Japanese army in Papua in 1942 (shortlisted for the New York Documentary prize); and 'All the Way' (2012), about Australia's difficult alliance with America during the Vietnam War, which he also narrated and presented (it won the UN's Media Peace prize). Paul is the founding director of Hampress, an independent ebook publisher, and a regular contributor to Kindle Single, Amazon's new 'short book' publishing platform, for which he has written '1913: The Eve of War' and 'Young Hitler', co-written 'Honey, We Forgot the Kids', and published several titles by other authors. Hampress welcomes your ideas! A former Australia correspondent for The Sunday Times (1998-2012), Paul has a Masters degree in Economic History from London School of Economics. He lives in Sydney and Paris, and takes time off now and then to organise the Big Fat Poetry Pig-Out, an annual poetry recital, for charity.Review:
"Written . . . with great power and assiduous research. Surely this is now the definitive account of the Sandakan death marches, which, among other achievements, chronicles the dignified and generous behaviour that desperate Australians accorded each other to the last, as they faced certain death." —Sydney Morning Herald
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Book Description Condition: New. Sandakan. Seller Inventory # BBS-9781743151051
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