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The Man Inside

The Bloodiest Outbreak

(6 customer reviews)
Authors: Graham Apthorpe
Military History
230mm x 153mm

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“Narrated in a fresh way, with a wonderful gift for taking the unexpected angle, it does great service to this astonishing event” –  Thomas Keneally

The War in the Pacific has turned; thousands of the previously invincible Japanese soldiers are now being captured in New Guinea and interned at the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp. Unlike other POWs, the traditional Japanese Bushido Code and their fanaticism leaves them ill-equipped for surrender and imprisonment. Ashamed, subdued and sullen, one man, Second Lieutenant Maseo Naka is an exception. Obstructing the Australian authorities at every turn, he was the first Japanese soldier to escape from Cowra. This action becomes the precursor for the more than 1000 Japanese prisoners who escape in the bloodiest Breakout of World War II that ultimately saw 234 Japanese and four Australian guards killed. His escape and the defiance, guilt, and shame that motivated it, led to his court-martial.

Naka nevertheless stands-out as very human, another tragic victim of the global inferno that was World War II. Adhering to the Samurai Code of Bushido, he doggedly undertakes actions that he views as necessary for the maintenance of his “honour”. Through the insights of those around Naka, together with new research including the personal accounts of Australian interrogators,  the author shows how this handsome loner provided the impetus for the dramatic events in the early hours of August 5, 1944 where hundreds of Japanese soldiers stormed the Camp defences for honour, or death!

ABC Radio Interview with Graham Apthorpe

Graham Apthorpe

Graham Apthorpe

Graham Apthorpe (MBA) is a researcher and author and a 30-year resident of Cowra. His first work, the acclaimed A Town at War details how Cowra, site of Australia’s largest POW camp, was more heavily-involved and immersed in the spirit, sacrifice, and values of World War II than any other Australian community. Graham has published […]

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6 reviews for The Man Inside

  1. Graham Apthorpe’s account of the Cowra outbreak is outstanding. It deserves a wide readership.

  2. Well-written and informative work on the genesis of one of the most tragic events of World War II in Australia, the bloody 1944 Cowra Breakout.
    Good read, little known topic In-depth look at the cultural and military background to Japan’s imperial ambitions leading-up to and during World War II and the effects on one soldier, the first to break out of Cowra POW Camp in 1943.
    The book shows how this tragic loner became the inspiration for the night of August 5 with the loss of 243 Japanese and four Australian lives. Haunting…

  3. Having live in Central West NSW I was vaguely aware of the ‘Cowra Breakout’ and this book has filled in all the gaps for me.

    Apthorpes easy to read style whilst full of information kept moving forward without bogging down in the minutae of superfillous information as some historians are wont to do.

    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in some of these lesser known, but still important events in Australian History

  4. “Graham Apthorpe’s account of the Cowra outbreak is superb. Narrated in a fresh way, in elegant and original prose, and with a wonderful gift for taking the unexpected angle, it does great service to this astonishing Australian-Japanese event, and will have a honoured place in the canon of fascinating works on the incident.” – Thomas Keneally

  5. The Man Inside, is an illuminating contribution to the understanding of the war in the Pacific and to how – remarkably – the ideas, attitudes and character of soldiers of imperial Japan came to be indelibly associated with a community in rural New South Wales, not the last of the ties of blood between our two nations.
    Prof. Peter Stanley

  6. I have heard about the Cowra outbreak, but was unaware of the details. It is amazing that this story revolves around a township in NSW. While our servicemen and women were fighting on our behalf overseas, there was this conflict happening on our doorstep. These are the types of books that should be in our schooling system, not to provoke war, but to acknowledge our history, and be thankful to all those who have paid the ultimate price.

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