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The Battle for Hong Kong 1941-1945 Hostage to Fortune [Hardcover]

Oliver Lindsay
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Aug 2005
Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of liberation of Hong Kong and VJ Day, this is the authoritative account of how the British, Canadian, Indian and Chinese defenders surrendered Hong Kong to the Japanese after 18 days of intense fighting, on Christmas Day, 1941. The nightmare of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and a remarkable story of endurance and courage under appalling conditions, with vivid descriptions of life as a prisoner of the Japanese. Illuminated by a then architectural student's extraordinary story: a 'civilian's' insight of war although pitch-forked into battles as a young subaltern in the Royal Engineers. The award of one VC and four George Crosses in one small theatre of war is unique. A story of espionage, betrayal and heroism - was the senior British Intelligence office helping the Japanese? Thoroughly researched, with exceptional access to war diaries and graphically written personal accounts, superbly told by an expert authority. The book also covers the activities of the British Army Aid Group (BAAG), the cover name of those spying in Southeast Asia; their extraordinarily successful activities suddenly collapsed with catastrophic repercussions for many.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 234 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press LTD; 1st Edition edition (23 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862273154
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862273153
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Colonel Oliver Lindsay CBE FRHistS (Dorset) who lived in Hong Kong, is a military historian, author and book reviewer. He has written two previous well received, books on Hong Kong, The Lasting Honour: The Fall of Hong Kong, 1941 and At the Going Down of the Sun: Hong Kong and SE Asia, 1941-1945. John Harris TD (London) became a highly distinguished architect and is now aged 85. He was the former Chairman of the Argyle Street POW Association, having experienced life as a prisoner of the Japanese.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By MikeyG
Having purchased this book on the basis of two five star reviews, I was most disappointed. It is very poorly written and, even after a few pages, the errors were easy to spot. For example, the author cites that 'the Japanese received intelligence of the arrival of the Prince of Wales and Repulse..'. The event was well publicised and meant to be a deterrent! Also the RAF in Hong Kong had '... two Walrus amphibians....over ten years old..' No -the Walrus entered service in the late 1930s. A fair portion of the book is taken up by the reminisences of John Harris (who repeats (or maybe was the source of) the RAF error. An historian shouldn't rely so much on one person's account especially when a lot of it is about his early life and post war career - totally irrelevant. The author has an annoying habit of jumping around including bits of modern history including the Vietnam and Gulf wars - again totally irrelevant. There is little of the underlying strategy nor of any of the details of the tactical situation and fighting. The book has all the hallmarks of being lashed together quickly from whatever material Mr Lindsay had to hand. The defenders of Hong Kong and students of history deserve better.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle for Hong Kong: Hostage to Fortune 1 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This brilliant new account of the Battle for Hong Kong in 1941 by Oliver Lindsay, contains much new material, and includes the memoirs of John Harris, a young architect who fought and was interned there for over four years. Contains over 40 photographs of exceptional interest and superb maps. Most readable and highly recommended. The foreword by Field Marshal Lord Bramall is particularly informative.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle for Hong Kong 1 April 2006
This book combines Oliver Lindsay's excellent account of the battle for Hong Kong with John Harris's personal memories of those years, including his arrival in pre-war Hong Kong and his time as a prisoner of war. The result is a very engaging and readable account for anyone, particularly those interested in World War 2 or Hong Kong's history. The book is illustrated with about 40 often fascinating photographs, and 4 maps.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing 17 Nov 2008
As a military historian residing in Hong Kong, and dare I say an authority on the 1941 battle, I have to say that I found Col. Lindsay's book somewhat disappointing.
The disjointed style of writing which he employs, with frequent references to the actions of the Brigade of Guards in such conflicts as other WW 2 battles, e.g. the Falklands and the Gulf Wars, I found uncomfortable.

There are also inaccuracies, as pointed out by an earlier reviewer. One example; on page 89 Col. Lindsay confuses the 2 island brigades, stating that "Western" (sic) Brigade was commanded by Brig. Cedric Wallis and "Eastern" (sic) Brigade by Brig. John Lawson, when in fact it was the other way round.

On a positive note, however, the historical photographs are excellent.
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