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Posted May 26, 2007
While the drama of war in Europe and the Pacific captured the US press front pages in the 1940-45 time frame, the CBI was relatively ignored. But in the jungles of Burma and along the mountain ridges, the Brits, the Chindits, Kachins, Burmese, Gurkas, Indians, and others were waging total war with the Japanese. We may not have heard much about it while it was going on, overshadowed by the war news from places we were more familiar with, but major actions were happening there. Author Webster sets the record straight. General Joe Stilwell, having enough on his hands with Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek, managed to retake Burma and open the Burma Road, lifeline to China, despite political attacks from all sides. Webster provides insights we could hardly find on our own -- the maddening ego of Chiang and our own General Chennault, the loyalty of British General Slim, the bravery of General Wingate, to mention a few. Then, there was the foot soldiers suffering almost unspeakable horrors of steaming jungles, disease, hunger, isolation and inhumane treatment at the hands of the Japanese. Enter Lord Mountbatten, before he played a key role in establishing India as a free country. Most of us who were in China at the end of WWII were on the east coast and knew little of the vast expanses to the west, in Kipling country. Webster helps us understand what was going on there while the world attention was directed elsewhere with his wonderful book.
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Posted March 16, 2005
A great action-adventure yarn
In an age in which readers increasingly eschew fiction for narrative non-fiction, this book stands out as a paragon of the ascendant genre. It's detailed but nuanced, gives ample background without cluttering the drama, and introduces a host of fascinating and colorful characters, chief among them Stilwell, Wingate and Chenault. If you liked Hampton Sides' masterpiece 'Ghost Soldiers,' you'll like this. It's hard to put down once you crack it open.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.