This is the astonishing tale of two episodes in the life of Colonel J P Cross, jungle fighter and linguist extraordinaire.
As a young officer at the end of the war against Japan in 1945, he took part in counterinsurgency operations against the Vietminh at a time of chaos and confusion. Sent to the area to help disarm the defeated Japanese, Cross found himself commanding a battalion of the very same troops against the Vietminh.
That period provides the backdrop to Cross’s experiences as British Defence Attache to Laos between 1972 and 1976. His mastery of the languages of the region allowed him rarely accorded access to high Laotian political circles.
Allowed to wander at will even by the Communists, he was in the unique position to survey the subterfuge and rivalry surrounding an overlooked yet fascinating sideshow to the Vietnam War. A remarkable man, J P Cross provides an absorbing account of his life amidst the cut and thrust of Laotion politics.
|Publisher:||Pen and Sword|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
In 1970, The Economist described J P Cross as ‘one of those gifted, dedicated eccentrics that the British Army has the habit of spawning.’ In his career spanning 40 years, Colonel Cross commanded a rifle company during the Malayan Emergency and the Border Scouts in Borneo, directed the British Army Jungle Warfare School and recruited Gurkhas for the British Army in Nepal.
Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and was formerly the Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations 8
Dramatis Personae 10
Foreword Hew Strachan 14
Part I Cochin-China 1945-46: 'When the water level fads, the ants eat the fish … 25
1 Black Flags of Surrender flew… 26
2 …and a Blacker Hatred Grew 44
Part II Laos 1972-76 : …when the water level rises, the fish eat the ants' 53
3 The Hyphen between Indo and China 54
4 A Boy in a Man's League 80
5 The Test 103
6 The Acorn Grows 130
7 Table Companions are Easy to Find … 155
8 …but Death Companions are Rare …176
9 Malice in Blunderland 198
10 From Hanoi with XXX 219
Looking Back: 70 and 40 Years Later 242