King Rat

By James Clavell,

Book cover of King Rat

Book description

Set in Changi, the most notorious prisoner of war camp in Asia, King Rat is an heroic story of survival told by a master story-teller who lived through those years as a young soldier. Only one man in fifteen had the strength, the luck, and the cleverness simply to survive…

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2 authors picked King Rat as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

James Clavell’s first book, King Rat, is the story of allied servicemen trapped by the Japanese in Singapore at the beginning of World War II and held captive for the duration in the infamous Changi prison. The captured consisted of some 10,000 men made up of a British regiment, a few Australian companies, and one small American platoon. After three years of brutal, virtually starvation conditions even the British Commanding General was reduced to a uniform of nothing more than rags. Only one prisoner, an American Corporal, had lost no weight, wore a freshly pressed uniform and spit-shined shoes every…

Another book with rat in the title. This one realistically depicts the drastic conditions faced by allied soldiers in Japanese prisoner of war camps. According to the Japanese military code of honor, soldiers never, under any circumstances, surrender. This meant that the Japanese considered allied prisoners to be a subhuman species. They were kept barely alive only to do heavy labor for their captors. In the camps, prisoners were given little or nothing to eat, no clothing, or medical care. Work parties comprised of skeletal men, covered with sores and clad in rags, left camp every morning. Upon return, several…

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