BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer’s Tension City.
Following the enormous success of his two bestselling previous novels, White Widow and Purple Dots, Jim Lehrer takes on a new and controversial subject in this ambitious story about an Ameri-can soldier who, many years after the fact, is forced to relive his harrowing experience in the Second World War. The Special Prisoner takes its title from the designation the Japanese government gave U.S. airmen held prisoner during World War II–an indication of the severity with which these foreign devils responsible for bombing Japanese cities were to be treated. John Quincy Watson was a skilled young pilot flying B-29s over Japan when he was shot down and taken prisoner in 1945. Fifty years later, now a prominent religious figure nearing retirement, Bishop Watson believes he has long since overcome the excruciating memories of his months as a POW. But a chance sighting of the now equally elderly Japanese officer who repeatedly tortured him instantly transports the Bishop back to that unendurable time, and he finds himself overwhelmed by an un-controllable desire for vengeance. The result for Watson is both a vivid return to the horrors of his past and the triggering of a new series of events that are also horrific–and tragic. Engaging and emotionally poignant, The Special Prisoner delves into the complicated issue of war guilt and forgiveness, starkly portrayed in the characters of an officer from a country that refuses to admit any wrongdoing and a clergyman who is committed to a belief that to forgive is divine. This is new and controversial territory for Lehrer, and he treats it with passion and respect, while writing in the highly readable, engaging style that is his trademark. This fascinating story of what’s fair in war–and what’s fair afterward–is a dramatic new novel from the veteran Washington author and newscaster.
This is Jim Lehrer’s twentieth novel. He is also the author of two memoirs and three plays and is the executive editor and anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. He and his novelist wife, Kate, have three… More about Jim Lehrer
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Published by Random House Sep 19, 2000| 240 Pages| ISBN 9780375505775
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Advance praise for The Special Prisoner
"This account of an American prisoner of war in Japanese hands rings with truth. Lehrer, himself a Marine, has captured the reality of what it was like. The brutality, the sadism, the horror, and, above all else, the triumph of will that got the prisoners through the experience are all here. Lehrer’s book is honest, factual, and a tribute to the men who endured and prevailed over the worst existence imaginable." –Stephen E. Ambrose
"Riveting…I couldn’t put this book down! The Special Prisoner delves into the full complexity of human evil and revenge." –Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking
"Gripping…a harrowing novel of redemption and revenge." –Library Journal