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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World's Most Feared Soldiers
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2003
This is my first read of the Gurkhas and it truely is a remarkable representation of their bravery and heroism. The book first goes into a little history which is really fascinating and will definitely get you hooked. Later it gives accounts of how individual Gurkha's attained their Victoria crosses,it really does give a provocative feeling to the willpower they put in. Truly are the unsung heroes. Can't mention everything here, but I recommend it to anyone interested in the military and Gurkha history.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2000
What a good read, I just could not put the book down. The courage and heroism of these little hill men brillianty portrayed in the book made facinating and sometimes sad reading.
A must for any Militarian fan
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2000
When I received this book for christmas I was more than a little surprised as I had never heard of it before. Not knowing what to expect I began to read about the history of these little hillmen.
By the time I was a couple of pages through I was hooked. There is so much we do not know about these people that we take for granted as servants of the British army.
For anybody interested in Military history this is a must read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I served with the Ghurkhas many years ago and have very fond memories of these ferocious warriors of Nepal. Their bravery is as legendary as their loyalty to the British Army and their regimental histories are crammed with acts of incredible bravery and sacrifice. Their reputation as tough fighting men is not in doubt and the mere threat of their kukri knives put the fear of god into the Argentines before and during the Falklands war.

John Parker's book captures all of these facts and more. He traces the footsteps of the Ghurkhas in Nepal and in doing so garlands the book with a decent account of Nepalese history. More than anything he portrays the competition that exists amongst the hill men of Nepal to join the British army, covers the training they receive and goes on to recount their acts of bravery in some of the most fearsome battles and encounters ever witnessed.

I read this book having just come back from Nepal and at a time when the British people are holding their breath in regard to the future of the Ghurkhas as they might be disbanded amidst proposed defence cuts. God forbid that their service is discontinued. As a school headmaster in a school in Kathmandu recently told me "The friendship between our two countries goes back two hundred years and we are proud to fight for your army because we fight alongside friends."

Friends to Britain they are. John Parker's book highlights with style and historical lore the unique relationship that exists between our two countries. A relationship that produces fearless and loyal soldiers who are prepared to lay down their lives on our behalf.

A well written book that is slightly embellished at times but it is still a very enjoyable and easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2009
Anyone having read this book will be left in no doubt what-so-ever...why Joanna Lumley is fighting for the Gurkhas to stay in our country.
Once you have read page one, you wil be hooked as you see how the little guys' turn a bad situation into a victory. Lets hope they are the victors in the fight to stay here with us. Come on Government. ''You know it makes sence''.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2009
An excellent book,very informative,this was recommended to me by Khukuri House,the suppliers of Khukuris to the British Gurkhas & I can see why,the best guide to these wonderful soldiers
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on 5 June 2014
This book is a cracking read.
It tells the history and military exploits of these fearsome Nepalese fighting men, who are more than willing to put their lives on the line as part of the British Army.
This book was such a great read that I read it over a weekend, just couldn't put it down.
The Gurkhas definitely have had a raw deal regarding pay and pensions and should be treated as an equal to the British born troops in the army.
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on 26 February 2011
Excellent book; it really captures why the Gurkhas are admired and adored by those who fight along side them, and why they are so feared by the enemy.
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on 30 July 2015
This is a good book, it tells you about how brave these soldiers are and what they do to become soldiers and about their original home land.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2011
This book is characterized by being stuffed with material that goes beyond its scope.

Right at the beginning there are multiple pages describing a trekking trip to Nepal by the author and others. I ended up flipping the pages until it was over, something I never do while reading a book. If I wanted to read a travel book I would have bought one. Curiously the trip description wasn't even written by the author, it was a transcript of a travel diary by one of his travel mates.

That's one of the main characteristics of this book: ipsis verbis testimonies of people somehow involved with the Ghurkhas are transcribed in pages on end. Towards the middle, an entire chapter is filled with the statement of a Ghurkha Officer about his experiences of the Burma campaign. It tells you a lot about the hardships suffered by soldiers on that theatre, but by all soldiers, not just Ghurkhas, failing in my opinion to convey the important role they had in that campaign. I read in a book about the battle for Kohima and Imphal that in most infantry brigades one out of three battalions was of Ghurkhas. This book doesn't give an impression of such contribution.

Towards the end a lot is written about the problems of retired and demobilized Ghurkhas returning to Nepal (including, again, a lengthy testimony from an ex-soldier about his personal hardships, as well as a totally useless description of the murder of the Nepali Royal Family). I think that subject is important in a history of Ghurkhas, but the great amount of the book dedicated to it, in a protracted manner (some times the same arguments are repeated in other words), is totally out of proportion.

I give three stars because mixed up in the almost 400 pages (pb edition) you'll indeed find a history of the Ghurkhas. But it fails because the author was so preoccupied with modern Nepal and the plight of ex-Ghurkhas that he dropped its history to a background level.
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