Item description for To End All Wars: A True Story about the Will to Survive and the Courage to Forgive by Ernest Gordon...
Overview The best-selling classic of the power of love and forgiveness in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
Publishers Description Now A Major Motion Picture Starring Robert Carlyle and Kiefer Sutherland'Waking from a dream, I suddenly realized where I was: in the Death House--in a prison camp by the River Kwai. I was a prisoner of war, lying among the dead, waiting for the bodies to be carried away so that I might have more room.'When Ernest Gordon was twenty-four he was captured by the Japanese and forced, with other British prisoners, to build the notorious 'Railroad of Death', where nearly 16,000 Prisoners of War gave their life. Faced with the appalling conditions of the prisoners' camp and the brutality of the captors, he survived to become an inspiring example of the triumph of the human spirit against all odds.To End All Wars is Ernest Gordon's gripping true story behind both the Academy Award-winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai starring Alec Guinness and the new film To End All Wars directed by David Cunningham.
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Reviews - What do customers think about To End All Wars?
Inspiring, well told, and true story Jan 9, 2007
It's a difficult, but true message. The author takes an unflinching look at the evil that men are capable of through his own personal experience in Japanese prison camps and carries you through the experience on to the brilliant hope on the other side of his own personal pain. The underlying truth you discover is the genuine potential to be found in one man's selfless, sacrificial care for another. It's an excellent read.
Hope Makes The Spirit Unbreakable Nov 16, 2006
Formally published as "Miracle on the River Kwai" and renamed to coincide with a new movie. This book was written by Ernest Gordon a Scottish Army officer who served in the South Pacific During the war.
Back Story During that time the Japanese advanced on Singapore, and Gordon and a few other officers try to escape on a chartered sailboat. After being captured at sea, he was incarcerated and sent to a work camp in Thailand, building the infamous railway of death, where nearly 80,000 prisoners lost their life in a little over a year. This railway and the Chungkai prison camp are the real back story to the Oscar winning film "Bridge On the River Kwai."
What the classic movie doesn't tell you is the horrific condition and constant death that the builders of the bridge met with on a daily basis.
The Book The story is a recount of Ernest Gordon's experiences at the camp and his witness to that camps transformation from what he called "the worst that man could be" to the "best that man could be."
The book starts with Gordon laying in the hospital at Chungkai, called the "Death House" by the prisoners as there was very few he came back from the hospital. Gordon then flashes back to what led him here, and then continues from that point and tells of the camps transformation. Before Gordon wound up in the hospital the camp was very much "every man for himself" animal instinct and the law of the jungle dictated who lived and who died. During Gordon's stay at the hospital while he was suffering and near death with Beriberi, Tropical Ulcers, Malaria, and Amoebic Dysentery, he propped himself up, void of hope, and penned a last letter to his parents. That was his low point. He was nursed back to health by two other POW's Dinty Moore, and Dusty Miller. Both bartered for food and medicine, cleaned his ulcers, massaged his legs to reverse the atrophy and gave him encouragement to give him the hope he needed to recover. These two men became an inspiration to the rest of the camp, and like Ernest Gordon, many started to emulate their kindness willingness to help others. Dusty Miller a devote Christian also read the bible to Gordon which inspired him. Gordon then started to hold bible studies with other in the camp; they often shared bibles that men had smuggled in. This led to a spiritual revival of the camp, where men helped each other to survive. The camp changed from a group of individuals to a community that served each other with the same love that Christ had shown them in the bible. Many more survived the wrath of the Japanese as a result of the selfless acts of the camp members, in one part of the book one enlisted soldier, admits that he stole a shovel (which he didn't) just to save the lives of his co-prisoners, that soldier was immediately beaten to death, but his sacrifice as well as others, were what changed to mood of the camp.
The Legacy This spiritual revival, not only led to many surviving the camp, but transcended into their life after the war. Gordon's epilogue was probably the best part of the book where he paints his perspective against the backdrop of the post-war error.
"We returned to a world divided by hatreds. We thought we had come home to a world at peace; instead we found a world already preparing for the next war. Having had as much reason to hate as anybody, we had overcome hatred."
"We had seen a vision of far horizons and caught a glimpse of the City of God in all its beauty and this vision seemed to be part of a different world."
Summary Overall the book is very interesting, and is an intriguing story of suffering and hope. Gordon's style is very easy to read, almost like he's sitting next you telling the story. The descriptions of the people and the camp are genuine and I had no problem understanding and even "knowing" many of the characters in the book.
Editorial It's one thing read about the word of God and the acts of Jesus, it's an entirely different think to witness it first hand as Gordon does and writes about with stunning detail. If found this to be an inspiring story of the grace of God that is given, by giving up selfishness. I have learned a lot about what true Christian's look like after reading this book. If you want my opinion, Christ looked a lot more like Dusty Miller and Ernest Gordon, than the face of modern evangelical minister today.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to see the how God's Grace can transform the most desperate situations
Moving Oct 20, 2006
This is a story of ultimate forgiveness told firsthand by Ernest Gordon. The things he and his fellow prisoners of war experienced are near incomprehensible. ...and out of such despair comes the forever life-changing love they experience through Christ, Who is the example they start to follow in showing similar self-sacrificing love and kindness to their neighbors - even to their enemies.
I saw the movie before watching the book which may have been best, as I would've been disappointed had it been the other way around (ie. The book, as many books do, goes into more detail and describes other people encountered by Ernest. For time and format reason, the movie can't cover all of this.)
Also, the book is proof that such a powerful story can be told without foul language (which is present in the movie version).
Not your typical POW story Jan 3, 2006
While Earnest Gordon's story contains enough description of the atrocities inflicted on him and his fellow POW's by the hands of the Japanese in Southeast Asia during WW2, this does not read like your typical POW story. By typical, I mean a blow-by-blow account (literally at times) of the grueling, horrific experience of Allied soldiers during the war. Though there are passages of such description that aptly set the stage for the story, this book is more about the way in which Gordon and his fellow prisoners of war created the Kingdom of God in the hell of mankind.
It is, then, a differently woven story than you might expect. But given the chance, it is a wonderful story of redemption, forgiveness, love and charity - despite overwhelming odds - and is a story that you can't put down. There were times during my reading, that I found myself asking, "Could this be true?" But it is, as Gordon relates his experience from beginning to end, and concludes with an epilogue that completes his life after the war and puts a dose of realism to balance any incredulity the reader may have amassed.
Gordon's story is not designed to heap more evidence of damnation on the Japanese for the cruelties they inflicted during the war. That is the job for others, as Gordon clearly points out. Gordon's story, rather, is one to demonstrate that love can conquer hate, that goodness can overcome evil, that to "end all wars" mankind must learn to forgive and to love, even our enemies.
A powerful book!
fantastic story Dec 7, 2005
Ernest Gordon's first-hand account of being a POW in WWII. Gordon, a Scottish soldier and later Presbyterian minister and Chaplain of Princeton University, was captured by a Japanese warship and placed on the crew that built the bridge over the river Kwai. The account is well written and interesting from a historical perspective, but also engaging from a spiritual one as Gordon tells about his own transformation while imprisoned, as well as that of his fellow prisoners. If you are interested in history and biography told through the eyes of faith, then this makes an excellent read.