Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Excellent infantry officer's account of fighting in Burma
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.