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In November 1940, Arthur Bancroft kissed his sweetheart, Mirla, goodbye and signed up with the Royal Australian Navy to go to war. He was nineteen years old. Arthur's War is the extraordinary story of his ordeal, and his survival.
Arthur made a habit of cheating death - on the ill-fated HMAS Perth, which was sunk during the Battle of the Sunda Strait; as a prisoner of war on the notorious Burma-Thailand Railway, where it is said a man died for every sleeper laid; and miraculously surviving a second shipwreck that left him lost at sea, clinging to debris, for six days. While a POW he risked his life to keep a secret diary written on paper scraps with stolen pencils recording the agony and comradeship of life on the railway, which has never before been published.
Against all odds Arthur made it back to Australia and to Mirla, who never lost hope for his eventual return all those years he was lost at war. His story is a story for all Australians: a captivating saga of courage, mateship, survival - and love.
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Emilie Frèche, lauréate du Prix Orange du Livre 2013 pour "Deux étrangers"