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Forgotten Voices of Burma: A New History of the Second World War's Forgotten Conflict in the Words of Those Who Were There Hardcover – 15 Oct 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; First Edition edition (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009193236X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091932367
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 466,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Gripping reading and a valuable history of the most intimate nature ... Excellent" (Pennant)

Book Description

A remarkable new oral history of the Second World War conflict in Burma, told from both sides

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
Forgotten Voices of Burma draws on the vast resources of the Imperial War Museum's sound archive to retell this story in the words of those who were there. This book captures the essence of what it was like to fight in the Allie's largest campaign against the Japanese in Burma's austere environment. Thompson's narrative expertly stitches together numerous accounts of the conflict into a comprehensive, coherent and revealing story of how the `Forgotten Army' turned defeat into victory. Forgotten Voices of Burma will be of immense value to anyone with more than a passing interest in the 1941 - 45 Burma campaign.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the familiar IWM `Forgotten Voices..." series.
Much of it's content will also be familiar to those who have read Julian Thompson's books `The Imperial War Museum Book Of The War In Burma 1942-1945' and `The Imperial War Museum Book Of War Behind Enemy Lines' (which covers the Chindits), which are far superior to this volume. This one claims to be "a new history of the Second World War's forgotten conflict", but many of the other personal accounts included here are also available in book form or online; Calvert, Randle, Norman, Dillon, and the 2 Norfolk stuff, for example. Other accounts, like Hogan's, are welcome, if rather confused, additions. Hogan is repeatedly referred to as a member of the armoured car section of 2 Burma Rifles; surely it should be Burma Auxiliary Force. A few West African & Indian accounts have been included for the obvious reasons, but it is sad to say that they are not that enlightening. What remains are recollections, some quite vague, without editorial comment. There is an infuriating lack of detail concerning dates and places. No attempt has been made to check or confirm people's names. This has lead to very many errors. This may be expected in an oral history project, but surely some comment should have been noted in the transcriptions. For example; the constant reference to Lieutenant Nolan (instead of Knowland) is quite shameful in view of his Victoria Cross award. Readers may also be confused by references to Typhoons at Meiktila, when presumably Thunderbolts were meant. Such errors are too numerous to list.

Many of the accounts are very good, but this format, which necessitates the chopping up of the personal accounts in a failed attempt to create a comprehensive historical narrative, works against the strengths of the material.
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Format: Hardcover
I was thoroughly impressed with this book.

Many who even know about the pacific campaign of WW2 only know of US marines conquering bitterly contested islands. This is true but often ignores other major and decisive campaigns in the Pacific theatre of WW2. Many dismiss this campaign in Burma as British Imperialism. However upon reading the horrendous and ultimately victorious cmapaign those men had to go through, one feels truly humbled and enlightened as to the sheer effort put in by this country and the commonwealth, and how this campaign equally contributed to the downfall of the Empire of Japan.

This campaign was every bit as brutal and energy sapping as all th other well documented campaigns of WW2, and i hope that this book will go some way to publicise this theatre of war which UK troops fought in, and do some much needed justice to them.

If anyone is interested in reading true soldier based history, wants to find out about less well known but equally as important campaigns in WW2, i suggest buying it. I only didnt read it all at once because of exam revision, it was that good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the great accomplishments of the Imperial War Museum was the oral history program for returning veterans after World War II. Julian Thompson, following in the foot steps of Stephen Ambrose, takes the same material and uses it in multiple publications. A reading of Thompson's The Imperial War Museum Book of the War In Burma 1942 - 1945 will see use of the same material. Nothing wrong with that; Ambrose used the same material in at least four books that I'm aware of. This book is not a detailed history of the war in Burma. Thompson tries to put the material in chronological order but given the simultaneous events it does get confusing. For example, how can you write about the Chindits, Kohima and Imphal in the first two weeks of April, 1944 without competing events on the same day.
There are no references to NCAC operations that I can see. I didn't see any quotes from members of the British 36th division.
Charpoy Chindit, my favorite reviewer is unnecessarily harsh in his assessment of this book. I enjoyed reading the first hand quotes from the soldiers who were there at the time. If memories have faded with the years since the actions, it only makes the sources more human. Who really cares if it was a Typhoon or a Thurderbolt at Meiktila? I'm interested in the first hand account of a tank crew member at Nungshigum; I don't really care if he can't remember if it was a Lee or a Stuart. This book should be read after the reader has acquainted his or herself with the war in the Burma theatre, other wise it won't make much sense. The fact that 161 Brigade fought in the Arakan, then flew to Kohima / Imphal to fight there isn't brought out in any detail in this book. Thompson's narative is okay.
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