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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written tale of a child fleeing Burma during WW2, 20 Oct 2001
This review is from: Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma (Paperback)
Expecting a rather grim trek through familiar territory I found instead a remarkable story of loss and endurance told with a surprisingly lyrical and at times humorous touch. A eleven year old Anglo-Burmese boy tells of the flight of the Brookes family from the advancing Japanese army in Burma during the second world war. Fleeing first to China then back through Burma and on to India young Stevie tells of his frustration and anger at being dragged along not knowing what was happening or why.
There were several attempts at escape,each thwarted by events or the stubborness of one or other parent,eventually leading into the mountains of Upper Burma. Walking knee deep in mud, fighting off ambushes by renegade Chinese soldiers, or just surviving the malarial conditions of the monsoon jungle, the family trekked and starved along with thousands of others on the same journey, Worse was to come as they eventually reached the so-called safety of a British controlled village. There Major Brookes came up against colonial racism when he was refused help by an acquaintance he had entertained in happier days - a Burmese wife was acceptable when offering hospitality but not apparently when the roles were reversed. Meanwhile the child had a man's responsibility thrust upon him as he struggled to provide food and medication for his ailing family after his father died. A harrowing tale of tragic mismanagement but also telling of the strength of a young boy who had to learn the hard lessons survival yet managed to retain a joy and wonderment at the miracles of nature A brilliant read; even if you only buy one book this year make sure it is this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for Burma and CBI buffs, 1 Jan 2001
By A Customer
I recently purchased a copy of this book from Amazon. Familiar with the subject matter which is the disastrous and chaotic retreat from British Burma in the Spring of 1942 before the rapidly advancing Jap Army, I was expecting another vaguely historical account of that chronology. That is not what I got. This account of a trek over the Kumaon range and through the Hukawng valley is seen through the eyes of a 12 year old boy. Historical details are fuzzy but this author's memory for boyhood details is amazing given that the events took place some 58 years ago. This is one of those books you can't put down (when I did my wife would immediately "steal" it). When it was over I was left with one of those strange feelings you get after a great novel or film. This story is one of great tragedy for the Author his family and his country. I am amazed that anyone could come through these events so well. Congratulations on a fine book and Thank You . Buy it !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shocking and Moving Story, 23 April 2012
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This is a personal account of how the life of a small boy living with his parents in Burma in 1941 was turned to trauma and tragedy when the Japanese invaded. I had no idea of how the Japanese moved northwards from Rangoon sweeping before them hundreds of thousands of refugees, women and children, civilians, servants of the colonial power, both British, Burmese and Indian. They died in their thousands in the jungles and mountains trying to escape to India. This one family story encapsulates its horror all in a way that no broader history possibly could. I was very moved by this very fine piece of writing.
Andrew Hicks
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A humbling story of survival, tragedy & triumph - gripping !, 21 May 2000
By A Customer
This familys fight to escape the ravages of human and spiritual cruelty left me humbled. Not in any way a feel good book, this was one read that gripped and held me. From a priveleged existence to the calamity of life in and beyond the jungle, to defeat the jungle and the demons and then alone for years left me reflective and thoughtful and hopefully thankful for my lot - 10/10
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5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable account..., 12 Jun 2014
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...and a fascinating read. I bought this as my Grandfather was also at Myitkyina airstrip when the Japanese bombed it and he managed to survive the trek to India via the Hukawng Valley. He didn't really talk about his experience so this has been a fascinating read by pretty much everyone in my family. The detail is extraordinary and Stephen's book has been an absolutely priceless personal account of a story that should never, ever be forgotten. Thank you for sharing it so eloquently Stephen!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 27 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma (Paperback)
Brilliant book. Loved it so much. It matches what our Dad told us about his retreat from Burma when he was in the army.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Through The Jungle Of Death, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma (Paperback)
Stephen, an Anglo-Burmese eleven year old boy lives a very wealthy lifestyle with his British officer father and the rest of his family when finding themselves in the path of the invading Japanese army in 1942 Burma. Their only hope of survival and escape was a three thousand mile journey on foot through Northern Burma to India passing through the Valley of Death during monsoon season. Facing many dangers including ambush by Chinese soldiers and spending months in an internment camp, where they were left to rot and for most to die he faces the death of his father from Blackwater Fever. 50,00 refugees set out on the march, less than half survived, a true and harrowing account of this tragedy, well written and an excellent book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping WW!! account, 24 May 2013
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This review is from: Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma (Paperback)
A well written narrative of a family fleeing the Japanese in wartime Burma. What makes this book stand out is both the horror of a first hand account of this less known part of the war in Asia: the thousands who died trying to escape to over the mountains, and the strength of this particular family. The narrator was only 11 but he was in the end the strongest of them all. The father, career Indian army, was both very brave, but also very idiosyncratic in many of his decisions, which may in the end have led the tragedy of his own death.
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Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma
Through the Jungle of Death: A Boy's Escape from Wartime Burma by Stephen Brookes (Paperback - 25 Oct 2001)
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