Even slightly The Dark Duke likely character in the whole book But after having set up the POW camp and the bridge as the main portion of the story but about halfway through the author seems to get bored with them which I understand as I too was bored with them and then the story drifts off to the separate team that have been sent to blow up the bridge and which have noink at all to the POWs Three men almost no action pages and pages of florid waffle Did anyone REALLY enjoy this novel Or did they watch the movie and pretend to have read itSecond the characterisation Yes it is as racist as you could possibly imagine Actually it is worse Many historical novels are racist sexist or imperialist in any one of many ways and I read a A Measure Of Love (Kincaid Trilogy lot of historical stuff so I can usually read past that accepting it as the perspective of the time in which it was written Post WWII there was aot of racism against the Japanese which is the sort of response that can be understood if not enjoyed and during the war as with any war it is an effective techniue to demonise and deminish the enemy This book was by far one of the worst of this kind I have ever read though the author could not mention a single Japanese character without abusing their physical appearance he could not mention the Japanese as a nation without sneering at how they are primitives and just generally subpar to Europeans Leaving aside the fact that Japan is a old rich far from primitive culture the racism was still excessive Worse He did the same thing to the Siamese and that infuriated me completely Thailand is an incredibly old immensely civilized culture which I both adore and respect and THEY WERE ALLIES in this scenario There is no excuse at all for diminishing and abusing them for calling them savages when they are your guides and allies Next was a really really odd and even icky element We all know that the French and the English have issues Pierre Boulle chose to write this novel using English characters rather than French and as far as I can see he did that purely for the purpose of creating nasty childish and stupid caricatures as a sly way to mock the English The Colonel was idiotic the behaviour of the English POW s was so very far from reality I can only assume Pierre never met one or maybe he did and still chose character assassination on these men that had suffered so much While for a while I tried to believe that it was the translation that made the characters so immensely unbelievable by page 50 I could no Starting Over on Blackberry Lane (Life in Icicle Falls longer believe that So racist against the Japanese the Siamese AND the English This author is a piece of workThird the history Here one might have expected the author to shine since the fictional story claims to have used Pierre Boulle s ownife experience working in Malaysia plantations and for allied forces in Singapore and Indochina during World War II Well wherever Pierre hung out I am dead certain that it was nowhere near the actual Burma Railway or with anyone who was really there The things that the workers on that railway suffered were horrendous but Pierre barely mentions them a casual wave of his hand about not having enough clothes A glancing mention that the medic in the team was not happy about the conditions There was one pretty moderate beating Knowing what actually occurred on the Hellfire pass and on the death railway reading this actually made me sick with fury on behalf of the veterans I don t mind that the actual bridge and the mission to sabotage are fictional that is fine for a novel But the description of the British Colonel virtually subjugating the Japanese commandant of the work camp that was so idiotically The Soul Of A Thief ludicrous that I could barely read it The completeack of understanding on the part of the author of ANY of the actual events or conditionsughI will eave you with a couple of excerpts that annoyed me The officers sir the British officers They are not being made to work they are all in full uniform badges of rank and all pg 92 The Siamese were not ualified to appreciate the technical genius of Captain Reeves but they were fully aware this was no shapeless scaffolding in the usual Japanese style Primitive people have an instinctive appreciation of applied art and design Primitive Thai architecture PRIMITIVE This dreck won awardsPretty horrid book really if you are considering it maybe instead check out any of the really good stories based on real experiences
If You Look Atyou ook at page count as I did and think it is only 157 pages I can do that easily I warn you that most of those pages are as painful as having fingernails pulled 25 Rounded upI have not seen the film that is based on the book though I can imagine that the film might bring out some of the personalities better especially given the cast Boulle s idea for the book is certainly intriguing but until the Secret Baby, Surprise Parents last I enjoyed this tale of obsession within a parable on the futility and absurdity of waroosely based on Japanese use of British prisoners of war to build a railroad bridge in the jungles "of siam during world war iiboulle as narrator "Siam during World War IIBoulle as narrator the novel euating the values and behavior of the West specifically the British and specifically its symbol Col Nicholson with those of the East ie the Japanese ie and its symbol Col Saito During the Mystify (Mystyx, last war saving face was perhaps as vitally important to the British as it was to the Japanese Perhaps it dictated the behavior of the former without their being aware of it as forcibly and fatally as it did that of theatter and no doubt that of every race in the world Perhaps the conduct of each of the two enemies superficially so dissimilar was in fact simply a different though eually meaningless manifestation of the same spiritual reality Perhaps the mentality of the Japanese colonel Saito was essentially the same as that of his prisoner Colonel Nicholson Published in 1952 and written as Allied war crimes trials of Japanese soldiers were just winding down Boulle s suggestion that both sides were driven by the same beliefs of cultural superiority would have been unusually broad minded for a former Free French agent and prisoner of warMore expected is the racism that both the characters and the narrator exhibit in describing the Japanese. Ted sense of duty aid his enemy While on the outside as the Allies race to destroy the bridge Nicholson must decide which will be the first casualty his patriotism or his pri. .
Hen this book was written and I know that the Japanese Army was responsible for truly heinous war crimes during World War Two and I know that people in this time very The New Baby likely would have been this racist and yet none of that makes it any easier to ignore The Japanese people and their culture are denigrated at almost every turn in this book by the characters but also by the narrative prose They re referred to as children savages incompetent at every turn incapable of accomplishing the feats of construction that the British can or of running a well organized camp the Japanese commander Saito is repeatedly said to be shamed by Colonel Nicholson s behavior and toash out in petty vengeance for it there s no nuance to this portrayal It s cartoonish almost outlandish it reads Wild Streak like propaganda Not a single Japanese character is shown to be at all capable in any sphere whereas all the Brits are uniformly excellent In the background you can hear me making extravagant gagging noisesAnd Nicholson I have this pet peeve developed after reading aot of substandard fantasy about characters who cling to the idea of honorable comportment to the point of idiocy They re always written as if it s supposed to be admirable and it never is because pragmatic action would do significantly good Write this as a heroic fault absolutely but not a heroic strength And it s true in the end Nicholson s pride is treated as the failing it is but that s after over a hundred pages extolling how virtuous and worthy a P.I. Daddys Personal Mission (The Coltons of Montana, leader he is even as he drives his men to not only complete but improve upon a construction which will aid enemy forces in attacking British soldiers All of the fawning prose doesn t just get erased because in theast chapter his foolishness is called by nameAt Say Youll Stay And Marry Me least if I put myself through reading such thinly disguised propaganda it was only 150 pages of it Three stars for The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle Iiked it but man o man it annoyed me A product of it s times written in 1954 Kwai is both stereotypical and stiff in the telling of a 1942 WWII Pacific Theatre event I suppose most have at Rafaellos Mistress least seen or heard of the film starring Alec Guinness and William Holden The stiff necked Brit Colonel Nicholson whose pride blinds his patriotism somehow and the attending figures that surround him Colonol Saito his Japanese counterpart that is head of that particular POW camp and the bridge that must be built for the Japanese invasion to go as planned I d seen most of the film many years ago and really Guinness is perfect for the part of Nicholson breathing aife into the character that is somehow flatter in the book But I must get back to the book Sorry Blind pride Men following orders Oppressive jungle temperatures Partially unprepared insurgents Boulle really brings out the similarities of nationalities probably a bit ahead of his time I think A uote of the first page of the book kind of sums it up The insuperable gap between East and West that exists in some eyes is perhaps nothing than an optical illusion Perhaps it is only the conventional way of expressing a popular opinion based on insufficient evidence and masuerading as a universally recognized statement of fact for which there is no justification at all not even the plea that it contains an element of truth During the The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, last war saving face was perhaps as vitally important to the British as it was to the Japanese Perhaps it dictated the behavior of the former without their being aware of it as forcibly and as fatally as it did of theatter and no doubt that of every other race in the worldI ike that in other words we are all the same underneath "the skin as it were Nationalism racism and whatever
Other Isms One Canisms one can as it were Nationalism racism and whatever other isms one can of are essentially superfluous It is true and I wish would realize it We are creeping up on that thought but faster please I enjoyed this WW2 story that inspired the 1957 movie the story follows two the 1957 movie The story follows two that come to a point in the end ike the movie Colonel Nicholson and the POW construction crew building the bridge The other being the demolitionssabotage team conducting a special operations warfare style mission to blow up the bridge Colonel Nicholson was prideful a hard Another Day of Life line disciplinarian and snob of the officer corps Colonel Saito was the strict Japanese camp commandant under pressure from the Japanese High Command to build the bridge at any cost Major Shears was the commandoeading a small team into the jungle to demolition the bridge These three characters created tension and overlapping dynamic that made a good book in my opinion I What Would You Like? liked this book because Pierre Boulle does a good job at telling the story The use of description in the writing added uality to the plot I eually enjoyed the book and the movie Thanks This was in my personal opinion a complete stinkerThis book is raved about by so many people it and the movie it inspired were the forerunners of a great deal of historicaliterature film and documentaries about the bridge in uestion and the Japanese WWII prison camps that worked on the Burma railway Some have called it a classic war novel but I found it appallingly badly written or possibly translated I would not know stereotyped way past the point of caricature incredibility verbose and insultingly incorrect on historical detailsPerhaps if this was the first story of it s kind I had read or if I knew nothing about the actual history I might have tolerated it better but no matter what it would NEVER have been a good bookFirst The writing It was very verbose florid and clumsy You have to give it some Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, leeway for being a translation sure The romanceanguages do not always translate easily to English But the descriptions of the camps and the conditions were vague and unconvincing while the descriptions of the jungles and climate were pretty Cinderella for a Night (36 Hours, lame considering the author was meant to have been in a few On the other hand I had to endure pages of a young soldiers inner agonising over the fact that he may have to kill a man with a knife which was unlikely and honestly got boring In terms of story structure it was all over the place We start with the POW s in the camped by a batshite crazy Colonel as described by a medic who was the only. E a symbol of service and survival to one prisoner Colonel Nicholson a proud perfectionist Pitted against the warden Colonel Saito Nicholson will nevertheless out of a distor.