The Bridge Over the River Kwai was written by Pierre Boulle, a French novelist well-known for another novel, Planet of the Apes. This book is set in Thailand during World War II, and tells the tale of a Japanese POW camp made mostly of British soldiers. The main characters are the determined Colonel Nicholson; Clipton, who was in charge of the medical tent; Saito, the Japanese officer in charge of the prison camp, and Captain Reeves, the engineer in charge of building the bridge.
Tired and gloomy, the prisoners grow restless in the prison camp. Suddenly, the commanding Japanese officer, Colonel Saito, receives word that he is to build a rail-way bridge over the River Kwai. Colonel Nicholson takes this order as a sort of challenge to keep his men and himself occupied. He eagerly takes on the task, but is grieved when Saito orders the officers to work. So begins a long battle of wits between Saito and Nicholson, neither willing to budge until the other caves. Nicholson demands that absolutely no officer of his will work, that their place is in command of the soldiers. Saito, however, feels that the more people that are working on the bridge, the faster he will get done. Nicholson is even locked in solitary confinement for a few days, at which his men become enraged. The soldiers begin to sabotage the bridge, often destroying what little work the got done. Many times they would use rotten timber, dig holes into deep mud that would never support a bridge, and smash the progress made thus far. Eventually, Colonel Saito realizes what is happening and concedes defeat. At this point, Nicholson is far from angry at Saito; instead he asks for a meeting with Saito and his officers to discuss plans for building the bridge.
At the meeting, Nicholson’s engineer, Captain Reeves, presents an elegant design that will last far longer than the original Japanese engineer’s design. Saito is very impressed, but still a bit disgruntled by Nicholson’s request to move the camp...
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