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One Fourteenth of an Elephant

1 rating: 5.0
1 review about One Fourteenth of an Elephant

A paean to the indomitable nature of the human spirit!

  • Feb 4, 2010
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But "One Fourteenth of an Elephant" is also a blistering condemnation of man's brutality to his fellow man even in the context of a war that encompassed the globe. When Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, author Ian Denys Peek, alongside countless thousands of Commonwealth soldiers, was incarcerated and forced to work to the glory of the Japanese Empire by helping the Japanese army to construct the Burma-Thailand railway.

Peek's present tense narration is at once simple, straightforward, brutally honest, compelling, astonishing and utterly heartbreaking.

"We have absolutely no say in our lives. We live like animals kept for work and nobody cares if we live or die. Each man has to rely totally on his own personal resources, with the support of close friends when he needs it, to cope with conditions under which familiar things have all but disappeared, leaving him with almost nothing in a grinding struggle to survive not only physically, but to retain sanity and a sense of humour."

Sickness and starvation is the norm. Escape across 100 kilometres of Siam's mountains and jungle is, of course, impossible and this realization makes the plight of these men all the more deplorable. Peek himself barely survived the ravages of malaria and beri-beri, one disease the result of his harsh environment, the other an entirely preventable illness due to mal-nutrition.

"One Fourteenth of an Elephant" is not an easy book to read but it is ultimately uplifting and unforgettable. Highly recommended.

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February 04, 2010
I was in the military and find these kind of book a nice read. Thanks and nice job
February 04, 2010
Thanks for the comments. I got the heads up on this one from a fellow Amazon reviewer who lives in Australia.
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