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Kohima: The Furthest Battle [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Leslie Edwards
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
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Book Description

1 Mar 2009
By the end of 1943 the Japanese had occupied most of South-East Asia. On 6 March 1944, the first units of the Japanese 15 Army crossed the inhospitable border of what was then Burma, and invaded India. At the township of Kohima they were met by a small, hastily assembled force of Indian and British troops, later reinforced by 2 Division of Slim's 14 Army, who fought valiantly and forced the Japanese to retreat. Described by Mountbatten as 'the British/Indian Thermopylae', Kohima was a turning point in Japanese fortunes, heralding their continued defeat in battle until their formal surrender on 2 September 1945. Using extensive research in primary sources and many previously unpublished first-hand accounts, Leslie Edwards presents a definitive analysis of this pivotal battle.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Spellmount Publishers Ltd; First Edition, First Impression edition (1 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862274886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862274884
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 18.2 x 25.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The clarity of the author's presentation in describing a very complex battle sets a benchmark standard should anyone else consider writing a book on the subject. --Britain at War Magazine, September '09

A good narrative history of the battle --Bulletin of the Military History Society, November '09

Highly recommended --Pennant, November '09

About the Author

LESLIE EDWARDS has been researching this work for the past decade. His cartographic and illustrative skills have allowed him to present detailed troop movements with excellent clarity. This is his first book. He lives in Brighton.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not definitive. 13 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book that can be recommended to those who wish to know more about the battle of Kohima. It is not, however, a masterpiece nor definitive, since it contains far too many errors, and leans too heavily on previously published works to earn those accolades. This is partly the result of it's dependence on books such as Colvin's `Not Ordinary Men', whose many errors it repeats. While the author also uses a range of new sources, such as the Gracey papers, he also tends towards larger than normal quotations from easily available accounts, such as McCann's.
The main selling point of the book is its structure. Leaving aside the weak topping and tailing chapters, the core of the book adopts a purely chronological format; each day is examined location by location and/or unit by unit. This tends to break up the narrative flow of the account, but it is worth it. Kohima was a complicated battle; this structure makes it much easier to understand, and the book is chiefly recommended for that reason.
The book is not without it's faults. The emphasis on chronological structure leaves too little space for analysis. I have read clearer accounts of Japanese planning, and the stresses of the British/Indian command are not covered in enough detail. Indeed the reader is never really made aware of the command problems and decision making process on the British side. Nowhere is it explained why 2 British Division took so long to clear Kohima and open the road. There is very little discussion of the suitability and effectiveness of British/Indian training, weapons and tactics. Where the author has ventured opinions they are often wrong; does he really think that Lee/Grant tanks had limited mobility because they were wheeled, rather than tracked!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent achievement 14 Mar 2009
Leslie Edwards is to be congratulated on the publication of what can only be described as the definitive military account of the battle of Kohima, described through the records, published or otherwise, of those who were there. He has chosen to tell a complicated story day by day, and piece by piece. My initial fear that this approach would remove the sense of narrative have been dispelled, because Edwards manages, amidst the detail of people, times and places - Japanese and British - to keep a coherent story line throughout. The great strength of this book is that it brings the people involved in the battle to the fore, some well-known to students of the battle but many untouched by historians and opened to the world for the first time. It is a long book, but Edwards avoids losing the reader by the judicious insertion of extremely good maps, enabling one to follow each twist and turn of this extraordinarily bloody struggle in the Naga Hills between the British under General Slim and the Japanese under General Mutaguchi between late March and June 1944, with relative ease. Nor does the addition of a considerable quantity of survivor's records (taken from oral and written archives, as well as published memoirs) divert the reader from the overall flow of the narrative. I am certain that this book will prove to be an indispensable companion to those who continue to be interested in studying what Mountbatten expressively and accurately described as 'the British/Indian Thermopylae' and is strongly recommended.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reference Masterpiece 2 April 2009
I agree entirely with the sentiments of Robert Lyman's review. I have a personal interest in this particular battle as my late father's older brother was killed on the 27th April at Kohima whilst serving with the 2nd Dorsets. He was only 19. I have collected numerous books on this particular battle and I have had the honour of travelling to Kohima to pay my respects. Leslie Edwards' excellent work provides the detailed daily account, and makes sense of the complexities, of this quite frankly horrendous battle. He should be congratulated on producing this long overdue, but highly important work of reference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Military History 21 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent well researched book. More suited to military historians than the general reader. Will need reading it again to fully appreciate it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leslie Edward's Kohima The Furthest Battle 28 July 2010
Charpoy Chindit is correct on a number of items in his review. But I liked this book for the exact reason that Charpoy Chindit didn't like this book. The battle of Kohima actually started in Mid March if you include the actions at Sangshak, Jessami and Kharasom so I liked the chronological method of discussing the battle. If you want to follow the action in Naga Village, then you have to skip through to find the next Naga Village discussion, but if you wanted to know what was happening on May 3, 1944, it was in the book. This is not an easy read and is recommended only for individuals seriously interested in the Kohima action. There are mis spellings and some times he puts the wrong Brigrade in the wrong place, but I fault the editor as much as the author. I am a little more forgiving then Charpoy Chindit but I encourage individuals considering purchasing this book to give his review a thorough read through. Like Charpoy Chindit, I encourage you to also read Not Ordinary Men, Swinson's Kohima and Phillip's Springboard to Victory. Edward's maps and sketches are helpful although he doesn't follow Sgt Waterhouse and his tank to the top of the hill overlooking the tennis court; nor do we learn what ever happened to the Japanese garrison at Merema. Unforgivable. This is not a light read compared to other books on Kohima, Imphal or the Burma Campaign so approach this book cautiously.
The appendices are useful for those seriously interested in the details of the forces involved at Kohima. At 430 pages not including the appendices its a long read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The best and most accurate book on Kohima
The best and most accurate book on Kohima. The author deserves all the accolades going. A masterpiece -, the definitive book on the battle. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Richard Lowe
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
Fantastically detailed account of this battle and the events leading up to it. But be aware, this is not a light read or a novelised version, it is very much a reference book for... Read more
Published 1 month ago by B. J. Mellars
5.0 out of 5 stars Kohima - The untold stories
Good read though very small print. There is a great deal of infomation in this book regarding the Japanese invasion of India. Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2012 by Sandphinx
5.0 out of 5 stars A new study of a pivotal battle
I do like books with a simple format, beginning, middle & end. This is great because it takes the reader through the battle day by day. Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by Malmesburywarmonger
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the general reader
I am someone with a general interest in the second world war and was curious about the conflict as it unfolded in Asia. Read more
Published on 26 Dec 2009 by Miran Ali
5.0 out of 5 stars Kohima
An essential purchase.

I knew that we beat the Japanese in Burma but had little idea how that was done. Read more
Published on 31 May 2009 by Mark Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Kohima thoughts
An excellent history of this campaign which I feel is let down by poor maps. A work of this magnitude should have professionally produced, clear and possibly colour maps, not hand... Read more
Published on 14 April 2009 by Amazon Customer
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