An excellent tale of of an American corporal in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during WWII. He is hard-edged & ruthless, but also street-wise & insightful. By exploiting the inappropriateness to the situation of the senses of 'honor' & 'class' of the Japanese & British officers above him with his American 'can do know how' & physical courage, he creates a position of power & influence for himself within the camp. But he is also despised & envied for this position, and the struggle to maintain/seize this power leads to corruption & violence that threatens to ruin them all.
This book takes place during World War 2 in a brutal Japanese prison camp in Singapore. An American corporal is able to take dominance over the oher prisoners through courage, understanding of human weaknesses, and willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his way.
This book is a good study of how people who are living in captivity adjust to such a life and are willing to do anything just to survive. It is a realisting and fascinating study of the human condition. Clavell is an excellent writer. I enjoyed the book.
One of the best book I've ever read. Clavell makes you feel as if you are in Changi prison on Singapore Island. You feel it. You know the characters. The human condition is stripped down to the bone. Amazingly done. What a powerful punch in 352 pages.
A short but engrossing read about life in a POW camp and the social heirarchy that develops when people are taken out of their usual social strata. An interested addendum/prequel to Clavell's Noble House as it gives some insight to two of the characters who reappear in unexpected ways in Noble House. Excellent as Clavell is always.
By the author of Shogun. From Library Journal: King Rat is named after the central character in Clavell's spellbinding masterpiece about the brutality of prison camp life in Japanese-occupied, World War II Malaya. The King, an American corporal, seeks to dominate both captives and captors by his courage, profound insight into human frailties, and pragmatic American business techniques in a class-ridden society where Japanese and British actions are bound by bankrupt codes of "honor." The novel, originally published in 1962, is made more engrossing by flashbacks to the home front. Reader David Chase superbly transfers Clavell's genius as a writer to this superb audio. His skill lies in communicating the author's uproarious black humor and in his fabulous timing and phraseology. Highly recommended.
-James Dudley, Westhampton Beach, NY
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