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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of reality, now forgotten
I gave this book to my father, who is a veteran of the Kohima seige, a member of the 'Forgotten Army'
His response was that the author's research was remarkable, and very clearly set out the grim reality of that part of the war, probably better that any previous attempt, as the book was so accessible to the reader
His view is that many more should read this...
Published on 7 July 2010 by Aurelius

versus
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm backing up other 3 star reveiwers
I agree with the view that this book isn't great. It is OK and is a good read and I don't feel that I completely wasted my time reading it, but I don't feel fully rewarded for my effort. To back up my rating:

1. Firstly from the titles alone:'Road of Bones' subtitle 'The epic siege of Kohima 1944'. These two things are completely different and it really...
Published on 30 Oct. 2011 by Sean Slippers


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Road Of Bones, 5 Aug. 2010
By 
Phil Smith (Luddenden, England) - See all my reviews
A fine book, which helps us appreciate the sacrifice made by the previous generation for our benefit and is also sympathetic to the suffering of the Japanese.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much a journey for the author..., 19 Aug. 2011
A very, very fine book about a shamefully neglected part of British and WW2 military history.

I was uncomfortable with the early parts of the book which contained too many instances of Mr Keane's well reported attempts at empathy with the situations of others without actual personal perspective - reporting what you see or garner from research is simply not the same as experiencing the reality. There were too many "They must have thoughts" and "We can only imagine thats". If Mr Keane wants to be a historian rather than a journalist of history this stuff has to go.

Mercifully, once the early chapters are past, Mr Keane lets his diligent and far-ranging research and his outstandingly simple and direct prose tell this extraordinary story. He covers both the detail and the big picture with authority and understanding. The descriptions of the conditions of both attacker and defender are allowed to speak for themselves and the reader is moved and informed without being lectured to.

I hope Mr Keane will build on his work in "Road of Bones". If he can expand his research with this quality of work and continue to develop as a writer of miltary history rather than a journalist seeking effect, he could produce a definitive work on the land campaign by the British and Indian armies in the Asian theatre of the war. We are fortunate to have a uniquely well written "private's eye" view of the later campaign from George MacDonald Fraser - it is time that the wider picture and context be set set down by a writer of Mr Keane's calibre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw Courage, 16 Jan. 2011
By 
Craddock Edwards from Bristol (bristol, uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Written by BBC journalist Fergal Keane this is one of the best researched and graphic war books I've ever read. On a par with Beevor's 'Stalingrad', Road of Bones tells the story from all sides (British, Japanese & Indian) of Japan's ill fated invasion of India. The politics are well explained (Japenese hoped their invasion would ferment an Indian rising against British colonial rule), the incompetantcy of both the Brits and the Japs ensured that countless thousands of lives were lost in the battle for Kohima in 1944 that was really not much more than a small town in the path of the Japanesde advance. The descriptions and the horrors of the battle, the suffering of the wounded (no way to evacuate them), men living in a four foot fox hole for up to a month, hardly any food, little water and their heads kept down by snipers and Japanese banzai attacks sometimes three or four times a day. The courage and bravery of these men, on all sides, I cannot put into words, however Mr Keane does so with finese. Very readable, never flags, superbly researched, especially from the Japanese point of view, extremely well written I cannot rate this book highly enough. The last military stand of Empire? An absolute must.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperial Twilight, 21 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
Road of Bones is arguably my favourite historical work on the Second World War. It details the desperation and the brutality of the conflict in an unflinching account of Japan's last great push in Asia. Through meticulous research Fergal Keane paints a picture of larger than life characters and bravery on an untold scale. Surrounded and under constant attack, the tiny village of Kohima would resist with such a tenacity as to completely stall the 15th Japanese Armies advance. It was a battle of attrition, of siege warfare and in the end a terrible defeat for Japan's imperial ambitions. Road of Bones is the tale of a forgotten British army and it's heroic deeds that now, thanks to exemplary research and an engaging writing style, is more accessible than it has ever been.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive, Scholarly, Gripping, 30 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
This is a well researched, beautifully written book which is sensitive to the combatants on both sides. Fergal Keane is a master story teller. He has researched the subject well, but lightens the mass of facts he has accumulated with human stories. He pulls no punches. One of the best books on the Second World War.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Road of Bones. The Siege of Kohima 1944, 31 Dec. 2010
Looking through some of the reviews I can only observe that if you go through life looking for flaws and faults you wont be disappointed. I've read just about everything ever published on the siege of Kohima, and events before and afterwards, and in my humble opinion Fergal Keane has produced a quite excellent piece of work which adds much to our understanding of the Burma campaign. Someone once told Len Deighton that a historian was a historian whether professional or amateur and whichever adjective you want to apply to Fergal Keane he certainly mastered this bit of history. I noticed that one reviewer thought that the author should have contacted him because his father had a peripheral involvement. Fergal Keane knows me and he knows that my father was also in Burma but I didn't expect him to interview me about it; if he had talked to everyone whose father served there his research would have taken a lot longer than the ten years he actually did spend. Well researched, very thoughtfully constructed and beautifully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Road of Bones - Fergal Keane, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
What a superb book. Very informative and showing both the British & Japanese aspects of this epic siege and battle to keep Kohima hill. Descriptions of conditions underfoot and other elements relating to geography and insects, such as leaches, make the reader very aware of the harrowing conditions for both sides. What the stench of decomposition was like cannot be imagined. Food too was in such short supply that most Japanesse seemed to have succumbed through starvation as much as from the fighting. The latter was at such close quarters it can hardly be believe today when killing tends to occur at considerably greater distances than hand to hand fighting in Kohima. The UK also did well to keep the Naga tribes 'on side' as they had so much both material and cultural to lose. Unfortunately, in the end, they were not rewarded with independence after the end of The Raj. Having recently read about Eric von Manstein it shows how the same mistakes are repeated, probably through overconfidence. Here and in Russia both enemies (Japanese and Russian) were so confident of success that they moved too quickly for their supplies to reach them with predictable results.
A quite magnificently researched and written book. It certainly makes me, as a wartime baby, very humble. Thank you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impressed, 26 May 2010
By 
Olive Chalmers (Scone, Perth Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I purchased this book for my husband. He had seen a review in a paper and had asked me to look out for it. He is extremely interested in all stories regarding WWll especially based on fact. He was absolutely delighted with this one and read it from start to finish in record time. He was very impressed and thought it was very well written, explanatory and in a word excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Road of Japanese bones., 29 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
It is possible that you have read something about this battle (Kohima), but, for sure , you have never find such a complete book about this subject, indeed for every person, Japanese or English, that played a role in this battle , the author reconstructs all his/her life to explain why he/she took a certain decision during the battle.
What has really shocked me about this campaign in Birmania on 1944, it is how the Japanese Command could have decided to start an offensive into the jungle, crossing some mountains , sending no supplies with the expeditionary corp, but hoping to feed the soldiers with the supply captured from the english army ! Anyway this is what happened and the Japanese soldiers starved to death.
The book is written with a very lively style as if the author would have been with the troops involved in the fightings.
The siege is told with the help of a lot of first hand accounts and of very detailed maps.
If you are passionate about the war in Birmania or in the Pacific, this is abook that you can't miss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A readable work of real scholarship, 24 May 2012
This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
I asked for this as a birthday present because of a family connection to the Burma campaign. It starts with a lot of context and the historical background of the area and the catastrophic early failures against the Japanese. As it moves into the post-1942 period the use of first person narratives is both impressive and moving. The plight of civilian refugees is often neglected in military history but Keane makes it clear the horrors suffered by civilians in the face of the Japanese invasion. The discussion of the military re-organisation, training and re-equipping is thorough and again, done through personal accounts which keep this entertaining as well as informative. Some people have compared this to Beavor's book on the battle of Stalingrad. In my opinion its thoroughness and use of first person accounts make this significantly better. It it highly readable while at the same time, being a first rate piece of scholarship.
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Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944
Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 by Fergal Keane (Paperback - 28 April 2011)
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