The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai
By Julie Summers
Why this book?
This is a book about Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey, the man who commanded the POWs who built the "bridge over the River Kwai". Many people, possibly most, know about this bridge from the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, starring Alec Guinness. I recall discussing the film with a friend – a man who helped build the real bridge – and to quote him referring to the film, ‘British officers just didn’t behave like that’.
Years later, whilst traveling and writing, I sat through the night, on a rickety wooden verandah, a few hundred yards from the Kwai bridge reading a copy of The Colonel of Tamarkan, drinking Chang beer, being bitten by mosquitoes, and thinking about my friend and his pals, the ones buried in the cemetery a mile or so away. That’s where this book has meaning to me…
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