Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942–45 by Brian MacArthur - review by Peter Weston

Peter Weston

Untold Suffering

Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese 1942–45


Time Warner Books 495pp £20

On Sunday 7 December 1941 Japanese aircraft attacked the American Pacific Fleet as it lay peacefully off its base in Hawaii. The attack sank four battleships, seriously damaged another five, destroyed 130 aircraft, and killed 2,403 servicemen. President Roosevelt declared it was a date 'that would live in infamy'.

Four days later America joined the war against Japan and the Axis powers. That night, going to bed, Churchill turned to his private secretary and said, 'Now we shall win this war.’ But victory did not come immediately. Three days later the Japanese sank two more battleships, the Repulse and

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