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The Torturer’s Apprentice

E.S. Turner, 5 October 1995

The Railway Man 
by Eric Lomax.
Cape, 278 pp., £15.99, August 1995, 0 224 04187 8
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... Eric Lomax, as a young Royal Signals officer, had the misfortune to get caught up, with a third of a million others, in what has been called a ‘logistic imperative’, an enterprise more vulgarly known as the Death Railway, planned and carried through by the Japanese Imperial Army. At any point in history a logistic imperative is something to be avoided at all costs, whether it involves cutting the Americas in two or building St Petersburg in a freezing swamp ...

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