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4.2 out of 5 stars42
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 January 2007
This is an excellent book. It is not a single coherent story, but rather a collection of well-written vignettes of life in the 7/10th Baluch Regiment during the war. Randle was, remarkably, one of a very few soldiers to fight the Japanese continuously from January 1942 through to the end of the war in Burma. At the Japanese surrender he was only sixty miles from where his ill-fated battalion first engaged the Japanese at Pa'an in February 1942. Each of Randle's short stories deals with incidents in the battalion during the war, most dealing with the various characters with whom he comes into contact. The stories are refreshing and honest and reveal much about the nature of human character under the strains and stresses of combat. It is salutary to be reminded that Randle was in his very early twenties when he fought in Burma, successively as adjutant and then company commander. Through his stories (several of which have been published elsewhere), Randle offers us a fascinating look at a host of interesting characters, British and Indian, as well as a range of incidents across a variety of Indian and Burmese battlefields, including Pa'an, Bishenpur and Meiktila, all of which describe something of the nature of the 'longest war' from the perspective of the hard-pressed infantryman. It is interesting to trace through these stories the transformation of a well disciplined though un-blooded peacetime battalion in 1942 into a fearsomely professional and battle-hardened team by the time of the climactic battles of 1944 (Imphal) and 1945 (Meiktila). This is a fascinating and very readable book and is strongly recommended.
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on 17 September 2013
A well written book describing the author's experience as a British Officer in the Indian Army. No dusty old campaigns here! This is a window onto a world that has disappeared. The author relates in a series of snapshots, incidents in his unbroken service with 7/10 Baluch Regiment from arriving as a 20 year old boy in 1940 until victory in1945 in Burma. His war starts as the Japanese Army overruns South East Asia. The journey from nervous boy to veteran professional is fascinating and remarkable. The anecdotes reveal how the complexities of the Anglo-Indian military relationship actually worked and led to destroying Japanese invincibility on the battlefield. Recommended.
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on 23 October 2013
My father served in Burma as a doctor during the war and I read all I can of the conditions in which he must have lived.
This is an easy read and it has encouraged me to take on some of the great books written at this time by Generals such as Slim - my father's hero! My admiration for the writer and the men with whom he served is total.
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on 21 October 2013
Really good book. I enjoyed reading it. Well written and pasted this is a collection of memories and story's of the authors campaign in Burma. He writes with dignity and compassion,and you really feel his pride in having served and fought with so many brave men of India. A moving book. Well worth a read.
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on 28 October 2013
This is an interesting and quite well written set of accounts of the life of a young British field officer in the Indian Army. Most, if not all, the stories were originally written for other publications which gives the book a slightly disjointed feel. It will be of interest to anyone wishing to understand better just what life and death was like for the British and Indian soldiers who fought against the Japanese in Burma. It concentrates far more on the human side of war rather than the strategy and tactics of jungle warfare.
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on 20 September 2013
A good account that has the ring of honesty about it. History, told by a 'Common Man' (which he was anything but), that we all need to be aware of if we are not to make the same mistakes again.
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on 30 November 2013
John Randle includes the daily grind this factor is deliberately made to be evident in this well presented and informative history of the War in Burma the wearing daily grind element of the very demanding field of jungle warfare has to be accounted for. Much of the heavy load was due to the far less than adequate logistical support of the highly varied colonial and county infantry formations of the forgotten 14th Army. The Author tells us about his experiences fighting an unrelentingly hostile and increasingly desperate Japanese enemy in the long hard seesawing slog of a campaign in Burma. Sometimes he makes this vicious war in the jungle all look so easy and routine but the continual references describing multitudes of highly dangerous and appallingly violent events he describes getting caught up in time and time again tell us the War in Burma was a particularly horrific war for both sides..
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on 30 March 2014
A very good read, and a book that grabs the reader, written by a man who was obviously a soldier's soldier, slightly short on combat detail, but that's probably because it has been written by a man who is very much an officer, Englishman and a gentleman, and who may not wish to go into the details of barbarity that is war! I recommend this entertaining book
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on 26 December 2013
Despite being a little disappointed , I found this a very entertaining and enlightening book about the little known "Baluchi" soldiers. Like the better known Ghurkas they to took part in one of WWII`s hardest and least known theatre s. An education for a minor student of the war.
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on 16 June 2014
What a wonderful account soldiering in war. It is often the lighter side of these dreadful periods that are remembered and keep soldiers from becoming depresses. I recommend every would be soldier and military historian read these tails from a very fine soldier.
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