Review: “To End All Wars” by Ernest Gordon


Title: To End All Wars
Author: Ernest Gordon
Pub: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0007118489
Started: 01/02/2010
Finished: 01/06/2010
Source: Library

Review

Starved and abused to the point of death by his Japanese captors, Captain Ernest Gordon recounts in To End All Wars how he and his fellow prisoners of war found not only a reason to live but a new way to live in the midst of hell on earth. In gruesome detail, the author brings us with him into the jungles of Thailand and shows how, in a hopeless situation, the soldiers were able to “find a way of life that proved to be vital, meaningful, and beautifully sane.”

The book was originally published in 1963 as “Through the Valley of the River Kwai” and was one of the sources for the movie “Bridge Over the River Kwai” as well as the more recent movie “To End All Wars” for which this book was renamed. It was the movie that made me want to read the book and must say that the although the movie took a lot of license, they both tell the same story. Having read the book, I now want to go back and watch the movie again.

This book will shock your sensibilities. It should make you sick. But it will keep you reading. Can we really be so cruel? Would you survive in the same situation? How would you respond? The book tells us how the Allied prisoners found faith, dignity, and the will to survive in a veritable hell.

First Sentence

  • I was dreaming, and I was happy with my dreams.

Final Sentence

  • He comes into our Death House to lead us through it.
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