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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kirby's The War Against Japan (a review by Thomas W. Johnson), 27 July 2010
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Thomas W. Johnson (Kailua Kona, Hawaii) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: War Against Japan Volume IV; The Reconquest Of Burma History Of The Second World War: United Kingdom Military Series: Official Campaign History: The Reconquest of Burma Official Campaign History v. IV (Paperback)
Kirby wrote what can be considered the definitive history of the British and her allies in the war in Asia and the Pacific. The War Against Japan is a five volume set of extremely detailed naratives which cover everything from the battles to the logistics, planning, transportation, strategy and politics. This particular volume (IV) deals with the war in late 1944 and 1945, after the battles of Imphal and Kohima, the Second Chindit Expedition and after someof the action in Northern Burma, especially the capture of Myitkina. This is a great resource for readers interested in Slim's Capital and Extended Capital campaigns, and Christenson's recapture of the Arakan area in Southwest Burma. This is not an easy read and will be interesting only to the serious scholar of World War II in the Burma theatre. On the other hand, if you want to know about the carrying capacity of a C-47 from the various forward air bases to the front of the 14th Army, this is the book for you. Some chapters relating to logistical planning seem to go on forever, yet without all the planning for supporting the forward troops, Slim would not have enjoyed the success that he did. This is a thorougly researched book but it is for the serious scholar or historian.
Amazon.co.uk lumps all reviews for The War Against Japan together, so it appears impossible to review Volume III The Decisive Battles separately from Volume IV The Reconquest of Burma. Volume III deals with Imphal, Kohima, the second Chindit expedition, the second Arakan offensive including the battle of The Admin Box, and Stilwell's offensive in the NCAC area out of Ledo. The utility of Kirby's five volume set is that so many subsequent authors have used it as a resource. If you look at the bibliography for The Furthest Battle, The Longest War, The Burma Campaign, etc... you'll see that almost every history and analysis of the British / Indian war in Burma uses Kirby's five volume set as a resource. Kirby is not writing about individual actions so much as the campaign and movement of companies, batallions or brigades. It is not light reading (any of the volumes) but it will certainly give you a detailed history of the 1941 to 1945 war in Burma and the surrounding area (China, India and the Pacific).
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