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The Man Inside

The Bloodiest Outbreak

(2 customer reviews)
Authors: Graham Apthorpe
153mm x 230mm

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“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

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!

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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2 reviews for The Man Inside

  1. The Man Inside is a non-fiction story written by Australian author Graham Apthorpe. He gives a riveting account of the Cowra breakout as told from the perspective of a young Japanese soldier. Download this podcast here

  2. In a well-researched book, careful attention is paid to the Japanese war ethos and the interrelationships between the prisoners. Apthorpe, the Director of Corporate Services at Cowra shire, has ferreted out the extensive documentation in archives relating to the camp and the escape and interpreted it most intelligently. His book adds much to the earlier accounts (such as harry Gordon’s Die Like the Carp! and Hugh Clarke’s Escape to Death). It is soberly and dispassionately written in an easy-to-digest-style. If you are interested in the Cowra escape, this is the book to consult.

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