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Overall disappointing and interesting. I realize that requires some explanation. There are three ways to look at this book categorically–biography, history, and Christian conversion. Let me deal with each of those in turn.
As a biography and human interest story, Gordon’s account is gripping. He survived the unthinkable and lived to tell the world about the experience. From that perspective, his was a remarkable life and this is a good book.
As a historical account, this book is valuable. Gordon gives an eye-witness account as one who lived through what he is describing. He was no casual observer. The second World War was a dark time in the twentieth century and Gordon has given us a glimpse into the grim reality. From that perspective, this is a rare and honest account of that life in the valley of the Kwai and it is a good book.
As an account of Christian conversion, this book is sorely lacking. Perhaps my expectations were too high coming in, but I had heard this book touted as something of a Christian classic. However, the conversion here seemed more like a philosophical enlightenment than a new birth in Christ. What spread through the camp was more like moralistic deism than biblical Christianity. It was remarkable that the group found solidarity and lived above their circumstances, but they were not a New Testament church.
I gave two stars because the book was good on two out of three areas. From a historical and human interest standpoint, it is an interesting read. I wouldn’t dissuade from reading it, but I would give this warning first.