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26 of 26 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

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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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5.0 out of 5 stars A fine evocation of a truly horrifying battle, 22 Jun 2011
By 
bookelephant (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
All I knew about Kohima beforehand was that it was very hard fought - "a damned close run thing" - and it featured a lot of very close work around the tennis court. Keane's excellent book gives one all the context and detail that is needed to flesh out this outline into a vivid and unforgettable picture. He tells us everything we need to know - about the area, its people, the political context (and whose tennis court it was!) as well as the relevant context within the war - how it was part of Slim's learning curve that would ultimately produce such great results. And refreshingly we get plenty of perspective from the Japanese side also - the personalities within their army that were brought into conflict, and the frankly elementary mistake which brought them starving to the battle. The stories of Imphal and Kohima themselves are told in nail biting fashion with many individuals from the defenders being brought into the spotlight to tell their story in their own words. Nor does he neglect the aftermath - which for the Naga tribesmen has not been as happy as their British friends had hoped.
Keane tells the story not just with completeness but also with a very decided skill - his chapter ends are all crafted to round off the chapter - yet to drag you on into the story - cliff hangers par excellence. It is really hard to imagine how the story could have been told better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Account, 18 April 2011
This is a fascinating and quite detailed account of one of the lesser known but nonetheless epic battles of the Second World War. In March 1944 Japanese forces crossed the Burmese border into India. Their objectives were to secure the Imphal plain (in order to pre-empt any British plans to invade Burma), and to then interdict Allied supply lines to China. A key preparatory component of this plan was the isolation of British and Indian forces in Imphal from their main supply base at Dimapur to the north - and key to the effective isolation of Imphal was the securing of the strategically important hills at Kohima in eastern Assam.

This book is not just an account of the battle for Kohima that took place during April and May and into June 1944; the build-up to the battle is explained in great detail with considerable attention paid to the biographies of many of the participants, to the imperial history of the eastern Assam region, and to high politics pertaining on both sides at the end of 1943 and into 1944. The author has clearly undertaken meticulous research into the events surrounding this battle, and there is a mass of anecdotal material, much of it gathered by the author himself over several years, that helps considerably in conveying a sense of the courage, desperation and terrible suffering experienced on both sides of the battle lines.

My main criticism of the book is that, though the first few weeks of the battle are covered in considerable detail (in some 150 pages), events following the relief of the original garrison on 20 April to the final abandonment by the Japanese of their Kohima positions on 6 June, a period of intense fighting and considerable casualties on both sides, are covered in a more perfunctory manner (in little over 30 pages). Another, albeit minor, criticism is the occasionally excessive and irrelevant use of anecdote (e.g. note of a discussion between a British soldier and an American airman on the merits or otherwise of living in New York).

This book surely represents a major contribution to our understanding of the battle of Kohima, from the level of highest strategy to the level of desperate men hurling grenades at each other across a ruined tennis court. For anyone with even the vaguest interest in the `Forgotten Army' or in the Imperial Japanese Army, this is essential reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Road of Bones, 1 Mar 2011
I found this very heart renching to read but interesting. A battle I think that should never have taken place. It was sad for me as my brother was killed in this battle and it was sad to read about his last hours and how it came about. I am glad I have the book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 13 Oct 2012
By 
Adil Ehsan "adilsan" (Pakistan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
As the blurbs say its the equivalent off Beevors Stalingrad but for the Burmese theatre. A great combination of human interest while showing clarity of strategy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Account of Japanese Defeat in Burma, 21 Jun 2012
This review is from: Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima 1944 (Paperback)
At Kohima, the 14th Army, known as the `Forgotten Army' inflicted the most serious defeat on the Japanese army in their invasion of Burma and push towards India during the Second World War. Following this humiliating defeat, the Japanese suffered a total military catastrophe during their retreat back through Burma and this is vividly recorded in Fergal Keane's admirable book.

His interviews with key figures on both sides bring the ghastly rout of the Japanese army vividly alive. His meticulous research, e.g. interviewing General Sato and his family - tells the story as it should be told, emphasising the total horror of war for all participants.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Road of Bones by Fergal Keane, 2 Nov 2011
By 
C. De Pradier D'agrain "lysander" (Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book is relevant in many ways, The Burma Campaign is a forgotten war. As one of the japanese soldiers said war is a vice. A very close relation was involved in the Burma campaign, he never spoke of his experiences, now I understand why. A former close friend's Father was killed in action, it was never discussed. I know that family went to Burma in recent times to pay respects to their beloved parents who they never knew, war is a waste and a travesty of life. This account is very pertinent reading for us all.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb account, 19 Oct 2011
I have not read any accounts of the siege at Kohima previously, but now having read this authors amazing account I certainly want to read more on the subject, however I don't think this book could be bettered.
This book is exactly what I want when I read military history, it not only tells of the strategic and tactical side, but more importantly for me it tells the story of those who were there from both sides. Although thankfully most people would never have to experience what it must be like to be involved in close combat, with incredible personal accounts of this truly harrowing battle the author really brings to life the experiences of those involved.
My only grumble with this book is that the maps were rather poor, however for me the sheer quality of the writing more than made up for this.
This book is one of the best I have read in a long time, go and buy it, you won't regret it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bravest of the brave, 12 July 2010
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when one hears of yobs desecrating war memorials as is reported so frequentlty these days, I wish the scum who do this, could meet men such as these, and explain and justify their actions to them. well done Fergal, heart breaking and uplifting . lest we forget.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Real Life Tale, 10 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. Kenneth Lancer (Radlett, Herts. UK) - See all my reviews
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I have not read anything written by Fergal Keane before although he is well known to me through the radio. Nor was I aware of this particular conflict. It is like a British Alamo with real life heroes. It shows vividly the futility of war, the bravery of men and the ruthlessness of the Japanese army. It is a good read and well written.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New light on V Force, 21 Sep 2010
I accept the view that this is not a book written by a professional historian of the period. My father served as a Captain in V Force, the irregular unit operating behind the Japanese front lines. Captain Albright is cited several times in Ursula Graham Bower's Naga Path, an important source of material for Road of Bones. I am surprised that Fergal Keene did not contact me during his research for the book. Having said that, I can confirm that many of the details in the book were validated by my father's descriptions of his operations- for example the use of sharpened bamboo stakes to impale ambushed Japanese soldiers when they jumped off the jungle paths. There are several annoying typographical mistakes but overall this is an impressive achievment for an 'amateur' historian.
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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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