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Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II Paperback – 5 Aug 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; Reprint edition (5 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1629142034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629142036
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,314,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The author of the famous 'Flashman Papers' and the 'Private McAuslan' stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numerous films, most notably 'The Three Musketeers', 'The Four Musketeers', and the James Bond film, 'Octopussy'. George Macdonald Fraser died in January 2008 at the age of 82.

Product Description

Review

‘The sense of front-line danger is palpable and the smell of action is remarkable. His descriptions of the sudden violent actions are breathtaking. This is battle as it is done’
Melvyn Bragg, Evening Standard

‘Fraser’s is quite the most vividly realistic account of the sharp end of the war in Burma that I have read… If you have enjoyed Fraser’s Flashman books you will enjoy the racy, pacy, utterly authentic account of far away long ago soldiering’
John Mellors, London Magazine

‘This is a book as good as anything Fraser has written… A moving and penetrating contribution to the literature of the Burma campaign’
Max Hastings, Daily Telegraph

‘A brilliantly entertaining read, with all the narrative power, gift for dialogue and surprising twists and turns that would be expected of Flashman’s creator’
Gary Mead, Financial Times

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Life and death in Nine Section, a small group of hard-bitten and (to modern eyes) possibly eccentric Cumbrian borderers with whom the author, then nineteen, served in the last great land campaign of World War II, when the 17th Black Cat Division captured a vital strongpoint deep in Japanese territory, held it against counter-attack and spearheaded the final assault in which the Japanese armies were, to quote General Slim, 'torn apart'.

"This book is as good as anything Fraser has written … decorated with the beautifully observed dialogue of which he is a master … a moving and penetrating contribution to the literature of the Burma campaign."
MAX HASTINGS, 'Daily Telegraph'

"A brilliantly entertaining read. With all the narrative power, gift for dialogue and surprising twists and turns that would be expected of Flashman's creator … Fraser is unrivalled at the storyteller's essential crafts …"
GARY MEAD, 'Financial Times'

"The sense of front-line danger is palpable and the smell of action is remarkable … This is battle as it is done"
MELVYN BRAGG, 'Evening Standard'

Includes the epilogue ‘Fifty Years On’ written on the fiftieth anniversary of VJ day.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Richard Barnes on 9 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book deserves 5 stars because it is one of the very best of its kind. It is a soldier's memoir but what sets it apart is how vividly the writing conjures up the atmosphere of fighting in Burma in 1945; the heat, the rain, the weirdness and terror of fighting in the jungle at night, the rough good humour and companionship, the sudden death, the team dynamics of a battle hardened section and the espirit de corps of the multi racial Fourteenth Army under General Slim. You finish this book having laughed a lot and tasted a little of what it must have been like to soldier in Burma. It's a great little book.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on 26 May 2004
Format: Paperback
George Macdonald Fraser has written an utterly absorbing and unforgettable account of his experiences in Burma at the end of WW2, where he served with a company of men mainly from Cumberland. The men are vividly described so that you almost feel you know them yourself, and it is a terrible shock, nearly halfway through the book, when a one of them is killed during a bloody nighttime battle. There are richly humorous episodes too, like the time the section are given the job of gathering up supplies from an air drop, and return laden down with stolen goodies, or the time they are terrorised by a fearsome giant centipede. Every time I read this book, I find myself wishing that I had been there, that I had been one of those young men fighting their way through the jungle, which is completely crazy, as I've never come any closer to combat than seperating two fighting toddlers. I can't help it, this is the effect this book has on me. At the end of the book, when he finally leaves the section to go to be an officer (fulfilling his comrade Parker's oft-repeated prophecy "with my permish you'll get a commish!"), you feel a sense of sadness that the adventure is ending, and I can never hear the tune "bye-bye blackbird" without substituting the Burma version "you've been out with Sun-Yat-Sen, you won't go out with him again, Shanghai bye-bye" George Macdonald Fraser is a superb writer, and his writing skill reaches its peak in this book. Read it and laugh. Read it and weep. Read it and wish you were there too. Oh, go on, just read it!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris on 24 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
A fantastic piece of literature. Written partly in broad Cumbrian dialect, which you simply have to try reading out loud for effect, this book is amazing. To date, I have bought copies for 4 of my friends and family, recommended it as essential reading for round the world trips, and I have a very well read copy which I dip into on a regular basis. If only someone would take this book and make it into a film, then perhaps the "forgotten 14th Army" would gain their rightful place in our history. Since reading this book, I have found many more titles on the Burma conflict, and read each avidly, but Quartered Safe Out Here is still THE best read.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
This really is the kind of book that should be on the history exam syllabus. At a time when the West is obsessed with post-imperial guilt, and to have been on the the winning side in the war is often regarded as something to be ashamed of, this book offers a valuable insight into why, sixty years ago, people thought it important to fight. The long periods of tedious activity (enlivened by GMF's focus on the humourous and the absurd) are contrasted with brief but intense fire-fights that take the reader inside the experience of infantry battle; the episode when GMF describes the loss of a third of his unit in under 2 minutes is harrowing. But what makes this memoir so wonderfully written is GMF's ability to describe the emotions and concerns of him and his comrades (and his thoughts on the Hiroshima bomb are fascinating, if not quite what you would expect by the end of the book)...
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By rdolan9007@aol.com on 7 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
George Macdonald Fraser has such a superb and accessible style that at first that I thought it wouldn't be suited to the brutal and harsh details
of the Burma campaign. Yet as the memoir goes on the detail becomes much grimmer, much more vivid, and you really do gain an insight into the soldiers view of war. The fear, the confusion, the spoken and unspoken comradeship of the soldiers.
You also find out what he thinks about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and it makes for fascinating reading. What George Macdonald Fraser really does is bring home to you, that war is often 'little' violent terrifying skirmishes rather than huge massive well ordered battles.
He is a little too dismissive of today's more emotional society, rather than the stiff upper lip of the second world war. Although you can understand up to a point why he is so critical.
The great thing about this memoir is that there is no false sentimentality. It is honest, and some will no doubt find his views controversial.
However, he does have the benefit of having being in battle, and that gives his views a force that is hard to deny.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Marshall on 28 May 2001
Format: Paperback
The author describes his experiences of life with the dour, no-nonsense, no-bulls**t Cumbrian ( an area of North-west England, known for its down-to-earth approach to life ) regiment, fighting close combat against the Japanese in Burma - the forgotten army in the forgotten war. This is definitely a man's book, in a world obsessed with "women's issues". The disparaging humour between the men is characteristic of the British army, and is better than hours of contemporary "comedy".

The descriptions of the child-like yet deadly (to the Japanese) gurkhas and charismatic Field Marshal Slim are inspirational. On one occasion a small Gurkha band holds a position against wave after wave of suicidal Japanese assaults; then it's discovered they don't have a single round of ammunition between them, relying rather on their weapon of choice - the "kukri" - curved machete-like knife - leaving piles of Japanese dead all around them.

There is a hilarious portrayal of a type unique to the British army - the eccentric upper-class officer, who has no fear of danger, takes the war as something of fun, and is absolutely deadly in his effectiveness towards the enemy.

In my opinion this is a unique, precious book - to be treasured - showing war in the raw, as it really was, with real people, right up against the battlezone. These guys just got on with the job. Buy this book. You will read it with relish, and return to it when you need an uplift. Sheer pleasure.
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