Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Light on detail, light on sources, 29 May 2011
This review is from: Odd Man Out : The Story of the Singapore Traitor (Hardcover)
Purportedly the story of Patrick Heenan, disaffected Indian Army officer turned Japanese story, "Odd Man Out: The Story of the Singapore Traitor" is surprisingly light on the detail of the central character of the book, and therein is a major flaw in the book.

While there is reasonable and generally reliable sources regarding Heenan's scholastic career in England (but not much on his birth in New Zealand and early upbringing in Burma), sources supporting the assertions of the authors' regarding the spying exploits of Heenan are unfortunately slim, and perhaps understandably so given the chaos that was Singapore in early 1942. However, some sources apparently didn't want to be identified, and the authors also state the "Heenan affair" was hushed up by many in the know. This is reputedly justified on account of the "dishonour" his exposure would mean to Heenan's Indian Army regiment. I personally found this a little hard to fathom, particularly given the period of time that has elapsed since the fall of Singapore and the independence of India. In the end, this leaves very little substantive facts about the key events that make Heenan so infamous, and is the very reason for this book.

Given the lack of hard facts about their man Heenan, in order to fill out their book, authors Elphick and Smith have expounded on life in pre-war Malaya, and the depth of penetration of Japanese intelligence. This, for me at least, is the more interesting part of the narrative - which is why I rated this book two stars. Unsurprisingly, this portion is much better sourced than much of the rest of the book. The authors also go into the Malaya campaign itself, although not intensively. I did notice that there seemed to be a needless reference to the conduct of the Australians in Singapore, perhaps not surprising given the tone of Elphick's later book "Singapore: The Pregnable Fortress", which paid great attention to the conduct of Australian troops in Singapore.

At times, the book descends into what appears to be mere rumour rather than substantive fact. One sensationalist account is given of a pair of British ground crew working on an airfield being interrupted by a strange Colonel and Sergeant-Major, who apparently were up to no good. A girlfriend of Heenan's is suitably fitted out as a kind of "Mata Hari". Ultimately, this means it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from "Odd Man Out". I am slightly amazed that the authors were able to contrive a whole book from such scanty material.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

3.7 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: New Zealand

Top Reviewer Ranking: 114,630