Last Man Out: Surviving the Burma-Thailand Death Railway: A Memoir

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MBI Publishing Company, Nov 15, 2006 - History - 240 pages
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DIVFrom June 1942 to October 1943, more than 100,000 Allied POWs who had been forced into slave labor by the Japanese died building the infamous Burma-Thailand Death Railway, an undertaking immortalized in the film "The Bridge on the River Kwai." One of the few who survived was American Marine H. Robert Charles, who describes the ordeal in vivid and harrowing detail in Last Man Out. The story mixes the unimaginable brutality of the camps with the inspiring courage of the men, including a Dutch Colonial Army doctor whose skill and knowledge of the medicinal value of wild jungle herbs saved the lives of hundreds of his fellow POWs, including the author./div

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Last man out: surviving the Burma-Thailand death railway

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Charles was one of the few POWs to survive the building of the infamous railroad-basis for the classic filmThe Bridge on the River Kwai -that took the lives of more than 100,000 imprisoned Allied ... Read full review

Last man out

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In World War II, to move materials and troops from Japan to Burma by avoiding the perilous sea route around the Malay Peninsula, the Japanese military built a railroad through the jungles of Thailand ... Read full review


August 1978
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About the author (2006)

H. Robert Charles was born in Pitcher, Oklahoma, Charles grew up on a wheat farm and cattle ranch near Hutchinson, Kansas, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1940. He was a machine gunner aboard the USS Houston at the time it was sunk by the Japanese in Sunda Strait, March 1, 1942. He swam nine hours, was picked up off the coast of Java by the Japanese, and held forty-three months in slave labor camps in Burma, Thailand, and Saigon.

Repatriated at the end of the war by British paratroopers and Office of Strategic Services personnel, Charles spent time at a hospital in Calcutta before returning home.

After graduating from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Charles later joined Parents Magazine in New York, serving as family home editor.

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