Listen free for 30 days

The Forgotten Highlander

My Incredible Story of Survival During the War in the Far East
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 3 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Alistair Urquhart was a soldier in the Gordon Highlanders captured by the Japanese in Singapore. He not only survived working on the notorious Bridge on the River Kwai , but he was subsequently taken on one of the Japanese ‘hellships’ which was torpedoed. Nearly everyone else on board died and Urquhart spent 5 days alone on a raft in the South China Sea before being rescued by a whaling ship. He was taken to Japan and then forced to work in a mine near Nagasaki. Two months later a nuclear bomb dropped just ten miles away . . .

This is the extraordinary story of a young men, conscripted at nineteen and whose father was a Somme Veteran, survived not just one, but three close encounters with death - encounters which killed nearly all his comrades.

©2010 Alistair Urquhart (P)2010 Hachette Digital

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    111
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    91
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing story from a very brave proud man.

just listen to it! an amazing true story from an equally amazing man. I dont jnow what else to say, just listen to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fearless

I love this genre and have read many accounts of POW survivors but this is really excellent. Well paced with just enough detail to draw you in without getting bogged down in trivia but also shockingly frank. Alistair Urquhart could be anyone's grandfather and has recorded a very moving account of his internment including moments of bravery and cowardice. Wonderful!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

this is good

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and got a bit of history to boot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Remarkable story

A gripping book written by an amazing man written when he was 90 after keeping silent for nearly 70 years about the horrendous treatment he and hundreds of others suffered at the hands of the Japanese. The writing conjures up pictures so sharp you would think the events took place recently. Apart from the horrors of life as a prisoner of the Japanese the callous treatment the men received on returning to GB is a revelation and does the reputation of the men in power after WW2 no credit at all. A moving, harrowing and fascinating tale of great courage beautifully read.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CJ
  • 11-11-19

A truly inspiring tale of survival

A moving and inspiring tale of one mans ability to cheat death against enormous odds....Alistair Urquhart did not set out to be a hero, but he is undoubtedly just that and his story of survival is truly epic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Truly a heartbreaking story that needs to be shared. Recommended by a friend it certainly did not disappoint.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

astonishing

An unbelievable account of what those poor men went through for us and their country. Narration doesn't quite get across the harrowing atrocities but an excellent book none the less

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pr
  • 11-05-19

Humbling, very very humbling

Thank you Mr Urquhart. My uncle didn’t survive at the Japanese and your story has given me so much more information as to what he might well have endured. I wish my father was still alive to be able to listen to it .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Powerful

A deeply moving account of what it was like to be a POW in the aftermath of Singapore’s fall; toiling on the death railway; the hell ships; and working at a coal mine near Nagasaki. At times it was hard to listen to this account, such was the inhumanity the captors displayed towards their prisoners and the misery they inflicted.

The ‘forgotten’ part of the book’s title reflects the British army and government’s attitude towards the POW survivors: a shrugging indifference that bordered on outright negligence. Details of the suffering were swept under the carpet as post-war trading and political concerns took precedence. A must-read for anyone interested in what life was like for POWs in the Far East.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

I finished this book in 1 sitting. A testament to the human spirit. Shame on the British government for the way it treated these men.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jacob
  • Jacob
  • 25-05-10

FANTASTIC

A simply horrofying story! I am amazed that this man did not die, or went insane!
Never in my wilded fantasy did I think the Japanese was this cruel. READ IT! It is an eyeopener. Only critical point is that the book is abridged. I would have liked to read the entire book, as the story seems a bit short.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeff D. Kimball
  • Jeff D. Kimball
  • 24-01-18

Gripping

If ever you need a reminder of how good you have it and how terribly others have sufferred... read this book. How one man can fight to stay alive through so much hardship is beyond comprehension. An amazing story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Elliott Ramsden
  • Elliott Ramsden
  • 20-08-17

Terrific and Terrifying

Read this book.

It will teach you about true suffering and true mental fortitude. This book has had a profound impact on how I perceive my own challenges. Alistair's humble lessons are encased in a story of unimaginable terrors.

The biggest lesson? Anything can be overcome with pure mental toughness.

The voice acting is exceptional.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Austin Jarrett
  • Austin Jarrett
  • 14-08-17

Never complain!

This story reminds us that our problems are not that bad. Complaining, comparably, seems silly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for george
  • george
  • 28-10-12

Best WW2 eyewitness account, ever!!

I fell in love with Alistair Urquhart. I cried and cheered and I learned so much more about WW2 than I thought possible in one man's story. That he was still dancing 5 days a week at age 90 (2010) is a testimony to his strength of mind and body. 3 hours and 14 minutes that I highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-06-19

Eye Opening!

I'm at a loss for words about this man's journey. I respect all veterans and this book gives me a new appreciation for pows. The narration was perfect and this audio book may be there first one my eyes ever welled up for.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jampausa
  • jampausa
  • 18-04-19

Best book ever

This may be the best book I have ever read. Get the book. Get it as soon as you can.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 24-03-19

Didn't realize how weak I was..

Great book, definitely worth a listen. If I ever feel like complaining about my situation in life, I hope I think back to this book. It's unbelievable how much suffering the human person is capable of withstanding. It was brutal to hear how the British government treated its POW's post-war but then again I'm not surprised, as their goal was to create Israel while the west was still in flames.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Quadlink
  • Quadlink
  • 21-03-19

Enlightening, Historically and spiritually

A harrowing tale of spiritual strength and survival in the face of inexplicable cruelty and the horrible darkside of human nature.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Djn
  • Djn
  • 16-10-18

Remarkable story of perseverance

Really worth the read. Such a great story that will make you grateful for what you have. This will definitely make someone tougher knowing what a human is capable of enduring. So good!!!