The Second World War saw one in 200 of the New Zealand population held in captivity by members of the opposing forces. Of these, most were captured early in the campaign, and most - over 7000 individuals - were army personnel. In addition, over 1001 air crew were captured, along with 63 naval servicemen. Inside Stories is a collection of memoirs from just a small fraction of those who were incarcerated.
They speak of the dangers of being captured, knowing they could be shot in a random act of violence or revenge. And once they were in the prison camp, there came periods of enforced idleness, punctuated only by the monotonous routine of frequent and prolonged roll calls. Enlisted men were obliged to work, an occupation that carried danger in itself, as factories and fields could come under attack from the Allied forces. At the end of the war, liberation brought further risk through increased Allied activity, trigger-happy guards and an increasingly haphazard food supply.
After repatriation, many had to come to terms with feeling that they had not done their bit for the war effort. People interviewed for this book all had different experiences, depending on their captors (Japanese, German, Italian) and individual circumstances, and these unique reports make for fascinating reading.