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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time the horrors were exposed.
As one whose father made the terrible journey out of Burma I commend it to all readers.
I knew some of the story but Ms Goodall has filled in many of the gaps and the book is written from the human aspect rather than that of the Military.
It is very well written and the research involved must have been exhausting. Truly a forgotten part of WW2 the multiple...
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by SSS

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3.0 out of 5 stars CONFUSING EXODUS
This book is interesting and absorbing in that it gives a strong feel for the chaos and hardships, indeed horror, endured by so many refugees escaping from war torn Burma after the Japanese invasion in 1942. A lot of research has been done from various wartime records and personal papers, however to make proper sense of the chronology and geography relating to the many...
Published on 15 Mar 2012 by Matt Stephens


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time the horrors were exposed., 19 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
As one whose father made the terrible journey out of Burma I commend it to all readers.
I knew some of the story but Ms Goodall has filled in many of the gaps and the book is written from the human aspect rather than that of the Military.
It is very well written and the research involved must have been exhausting. Truly a forgotten part of WW2 the multiple stories recorded here, and the historical scene-setting to go with them, give a dimension not seen before in this part of our history.
Always harrowing and at times horrific the conditions faced by the many thousands of refugees can only be imagined. The incompetence and idiocy of the official administration (with a few wonderful exceptions) is almost unbelievable - a fact which led, probably, to many needless deaths. At the end of this book you may well agree with my sentiment: God Save the Tea Planters.
This book should be required reading for all politicians.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive account of the Burma Trek, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
In 1942 half a million people left their homes to walk hundreds of miles to safety in India as the British Army in Burma crumbled before the Japanese onslaught. They suffered appalling hardship along the route, and tens of thousands of them perished, although the exact number will never be known. Among them were 50,000 British civilians - the only time in recent history that British people have experienced what it is to be a refugee. It is astonishing that this story has been forgotten.

As an amateur historian whose grandfather was one of the unfortunates of the Burma Trek I have done a fair amount of research on the subject, and this is the book I have been waiting for. There is simply nothing else published that tells this incredible story from the viewpoint of the refugees themselves, as most focus on the military retreat and subsequent recapture of Burma.

Felicity Goodall has done a tremendous job in pulling together the many strands to weave a compelling account of the Exodus from Burma. She paints a lovely picture of life in the "Golden Land" of pre-War Burma using the accounts of people we follow in the pages to come. Burma's crisis starts with the bombing of Rangoon on Christmas Day 1941, and we follow the refugees as they flee west and north to avoid the invaders. The lucky ones get out by boat and plane, but once these routes are blocked the remainder have no choice but to brave the 300 mile route through the uncharted jungles of the Burma-India border on foot. As the monsoon starts the northernmost route through the Hukawng Valley lives up to its reputation as the Jungle of Death.

The book is a pleasure to read - well-structured and illustrated throughout with photos both old and recent. The author has clearly done an enormous amount of research in the archives to unearth some amazing unpublished accounts and reports from the time. She has also visited Burma to see the significant places for herself.

If you know nothing about the Burma Trek then this is the place to start. If you already know a fair bit then I guarantee you will learn things you didn't know. I was fascinated to find out the fate of the Chinese soldiers who fled west rather than back to China.

I hope this book will help to make this unjustly forgotten story more widely known.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burma WW2 History, 1 Nov 2011
This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
A good read, well researched with personal accounts and historical details.
This book would make a great WW2 film.
I lok forward to more work from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good research led book, 29 May 2013
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Very good read, painstakingly researched and a often unheard perspective from civilians and military alike. Highly recommended for those who want to read an accurate account of the human side of what ent on in Asia during world war 2 .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant piece of research, 21 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
This is a really excellent book - I highly recommend it. The author has done what must have been much painstaking research - I sense out of compassion, even love, for her subject and the people she is writing about. Even though it is history, she weaves personal stories together to make her account extremely readable and extremely tragic. It is almost beyond imagining in what utterly dreadful circumstances how many died in the trek out of Burma. But as with all human stories, there is faith, hope and love at work, even in the face of so much destruction and death. It is high time this story is told. Someone please make a film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten History, 6 Sep 2012
By 
Anthony J. Pilcher (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
This is a well written and well researched book recording one of the most remarkable episodes of WW2. I cannot think why the retreat out of Burma and the terrible conditions suffered by civilian and military alike are so sparsely recorded. This fascinating book goes some way to redeem this. I couldn't put it down.
My family were involved from the other end. My father was an Assam Tea Planter. The Indian Tea Association put him in charge of the raising of a labour force from the tea gardens which ultimately numbered 82,000. In early March 1942 he was given until 8th May 1942 (8weeks) to build a road, initially 12ft wide and tarmacced, 161 miles long mostly thro jungle from Dimapur thro Kohima, Imphal,Pallel and Tamu from India into Burma to rescue the civilians and retreating 14th Army. The road was widened,bombed,cut, repaired, and maintained by them till 1945. Approx 187500 refugees came out by this route. Many died on the way. The ITA set up refugee camps along the way (my mother worked in one of them). The more northerly Pangsau Pass route was even more ghastly. The Army,and the ITA porters and refugee camps helped save about 30,000 along this track. The Exodus ranks alongside Dunkirk and Gallipoli. A compulsive read.
Julian Pilcher
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly written, very emotive book., 24 Jan 2012
This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
I bought this book, because I wanted to learn specifically about the retreat from Burma during WW2, as my Grandfather was a part of it and never spoke of it.

This book is superbly written and researched, and whilst it was a desperate and tragic situation, this book demonstrates the strength and determination of mankind when faced with horrendous circumstances.

As a child, I learned a lot about WW2 in Europe, but little to nothing about the Burma campaign. Most of the books I have seen, focus on the entire Burma campaign, and mostly from the view of the military. The retreat and the civilians seem to get lost.

This story focuses on the refugees. It seems silly, but I hadn't realised, that the military became refugees on their scramble out of Burma and away from the Japanese. I read the entire book in two sessions as it was impossible to put down. Towards the end of the book, there are some cruel twists. They were hard to read, and had me in tears. However, that's the reality of war, and we should never forget it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating..., 12 Jun 2014
This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
My grandfather left Myitkyina after it was bombed by the Japanese and then set out to make the awful walk via the Hukawng Valley into India. Thankfully he was one of the lucky ones and made it out alive. We knew little of his journey as he didn't talk about it much so we are so grateful to be able to read, in such detail, the circumstances surrounding his and thousands of others trek from Burma into India. From this book I've read what they witnessed but still can't imagine the horror. Thank you so much Felicity - the book has been circulating around our family ever since and has gone a very long way to answering our numerous questions. It is a story that should never be forgotten. RIP to all that fell along the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful resource, 1 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942-43 (Hardcover)
This wonderfully detailed account of the British exodus from Burma in 1942 has been very well researched and is most informative. My father was one of these refugees but never spoke of his experiences. I now know why he was haunted by them during the rest of his life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten, 18 July 2012
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Exodus Burma: The British Escape through the Jungles of Death 1942

Felicity Goodall has performed an excellent job in collating the available historical data and transposing it into highly readable prose. She captures the very essence of what life was like in Burma before,during and after the Japanese invasion, producing a lasting tribute to the forgotten refugees. She has highlighted with understatement the incompetent military leadership and management of the crisis which resulted in much of the hardship and needless loss of life that occurred during the exodus.
It was important for this book to have been written whilst historical fact could still be gleaned from those marchers who survive. The inaccuracy of many records must have made this a very difficult undertaking, but she has risen to the occasion with outstanding success.
I cannot recommend this book more highly to those who either have family connections to Burma in the days of the Empire or to those who would wish to learn more about the history of this beautiful and majestic land.
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