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The Jungle Is Neutral Paperback – Aug 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Thus edition (Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592281079
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592281077
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

After the fall of Malaysia to the Japanese, the unflappable F. Spencer Chapman survived for years in the jungle as a guerilla fighter. The Jungle is Neutral is his amazing tale of survival and valor against all odds.
As he traveled by bicycle, motorcycle, dugout, on foot, or on his belly through the jungle muck, Chapman recruited sympathetic Chinese, Malays, Tamils, and Sakai tribesman into an irregular corps of jungle fighters. Their mission: to harass the Japanese in any way possible. In riveting scenes, Chapman recalls their daring raids as they blew up bridges, cut communication lines, and affixed plasticine to troop-filled trucks idling by the road. They threw grenades and disappeared into the jungle, their faces darkened with carbon, their tommy guns wrapped in tape so as not to reflect the moonlight. When Chapman wasn't battling the Japanese or escaping from their prisons, he found himself fighting the jungle's incessant rain, wild tigers, unfriendly tribesmen, leeches, disease, and malnutrition.
This classic tale has been compared to Lawrence of Arabia's classic account, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and the gritty account of day-to-day operations is so accurate that the French Foreign Legion used the book as a primer on jungle warfare. It is a war story without rival.

About the Author

F. SPENCER CHAPMAN is also the author of Lhasa: The Holy City and Northern Lights: The Official Account of the British Arctic Air Route Expedition.

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To foster resistance movements in the Far East brings one up against many problems not encountered in Europe. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 May 1999
Format: Paperback
One of the most prized books in my collection, which includes 3 Spencer Chapman titles, has to be 'The Jungle is Neutral'. Forget the awful rash of 'S.A.S' and special forces books which have cashed in over recent years, this book is the real thing and makes today's elite soldiers look like boasting boy scouts. F.Spencer Chapman, DSO recounts in a very matter-of-fact and unsensational way, his years spent training local militias and fighting the Japanese in the jungles of Malaya during WWII.
The story he tells however is anything but unsensational - I can't begin to describe the hardships and near-death experiences Chapman survives, but they include several bouts of Malaria, capture by Sikh soldiers (which he sees as a kind of 'Boys Own' type adventure) oh, and he's also shot a couple of times for good measure. Chapman's resourcefulness and his sheer mental and physical strength and determination are beyond belief - his orienteering skills are incredible, his guerilla tactics revolutionary - he even lies up within yards of his jungle hideout when he knows he's going to be attacked just so he can observe the enemy's tactics. I'm not sure about the history of the Wingate and his Chindits or Sterling and his SAS but surely Chapman and the Special Training School 101 must have been the pioneers of special forces and hearts and minds type warfare (I'm pretty sure this is the manual of jungle warfare referred to in the book "Devil's Guard"). If you were impressed with Chapman's courage and endurance after reading 'Helvellyn to Himalayas' then read this book and be further amazed.
I don't care what other books on special forces or great soldiers you've read before, buy this one, I ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE it will leave you in complete awe and disbelief of this incredible man - a book that you will remember for the rest of your life.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 May 1999
Format: Paperback
I can only wholeheartedly endorse the words of the previous reviewer; this book is quite outstanding.
I first read this book lying on a beach on a very small island off the west coast of Malaysia called Pangkor Laut. It was from this same island that some fifty years earlier Spencer Chapman finally left Malaya and boarded a submarine to safety after three years living in the jungles of Malaya conducting a private guerilla war against the Japanese.
This books deals with the fall of Malaya,the planned "fifth columnists", and Spencer Chapman's incredible efforts in not only trying to survive in the most inhospitable environment but to continue to bring the war to the Japanese occupying forces. Spencer Chapman suffers unbelievable hardships but somehow manages to live and fight on. This book is monumental.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Essex Girl on 8 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I have it on the authority of one who was there, in the jungles, back then (and even clapped eyes on FSC himself), that this book is the best - `a classic in jungle survival.'

The author writes well and very confidently, and then of course he has a fascinating tale to tell: training stay-behind parties in Singapore in 1941, going behind Japanese lines over Christmas of that year, and then, as the IJA continued sweeping south, hiding out in the jungles, harassing the advancing troops and falling in with the Chinese guerillas. At times, with more than three years of jungle journeys to keep up with, I did get a bit lost about where he was and when, but in general the author makes sure that his reader is heading in the right direction. I was amazed by his memory, his courage, his determination and his sheer ability to survive.

At times he seems almost off-hand about the reprisals carried out against the Chinese who helped them (or where suspected of doing so), but he's also off-hand about the loss of fellow Europeans, his own health, his own mental condition... He was a soldier, in a particularly savage theatre of war, and being off-hand was perhaps the only way of coping: he admits himself, on the very last page, that his emotions had atrophied by the end. There is no doubt that he saw the Chinese as humans, liked some, disliked others, and measured them by their personal qualities before anything else: considering some of the remarks in other books of the time about the `Asiatics' (not just the Chinese but also the Malays, Indians and Eurasians), this is very enlightened.

If you can manage a large cast of characters, and are willing to read with your finger on a map in the back of the book, this is a story well worth your time.

One word of advice, though: the photographs differ depending on the edition, so if you're after a particular image, double-check.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob Jenkins on 20 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book is as unique as the author was amongst British officers in pre-war Malaya. He saw it all coming and despite official scepticism, managed to establish a fledgling guerrilla force intended to cause mayhem behind the lines. It was a great idea, but there was neither the time, nor the wholehearted support for it to reach its full potential, and it was ultimately unsuccessful. The core themes of this book however, are the author's battle for survival in the jungle and his subsequent experiences of living with communist anti-japanese guerrillas - the forerunners of the communist terrorists who were to plague British rule in Malaya after the war. It ranks highly as a testament to man's ability to endure and overcome, providing that he possesses a positive mental attitude. It also earnt a mention in the cult status book 'The Devil's Guard' (George Robert Elford) as a bible for troops undertaking jungle operations against communist irregulars.
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