Singapore Burning: Heroism and Surrender in World War II Paperback – 4 May 2006
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"A meticulopus account of the advance on Singapore... an excellent opportunity to revisit these hard
questions." -- Sydney Morning Herald, August 27, 2005
"He has a sharp eye for the telling anecdote...incidents well known to Australians... are fresh in the telling." -- Book Talk, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 20, 2005
"a magisterial account...Colin Smith knows how it feels to be a soldier and his story is unforgettably well told"
Neal Ascherson -- The Observer, 12 June,2005
'Smith succeeds brilliantly in weaving hundreds of individual stories into a coherent whole' -- Sunday Times
'Smith tells the story vividly . . . a fine history of what now seems primarily a particularly poignant and horrifying human tragedy' -- Literary Review
...beautifully told, shrewd and fair in its judgments and on occasions wryly funny...the definitie book on this extraordinary drama -- Daily Telegraph May 21,2005 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Colin Smith is an author and award-winning journalist. He covered many wars for the Observer and served terms as its Defence, Middle East, Asia and Washington correspondent. His previous book Alamein: War Without Hate (with John Bierman) was praised by John Keegan as the best book written about Alamein. He also co-wrote Warsaw Boy with Andrew Borowiec.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As regards the behaviour of the Japanese, once again we are left struggling to understand how an enemy, often courageous in the extreme, could also display such heartless cruelty towards those captured. In the Author's own words, 'perhaps even the Japanese do not know the answer to this'.
Although the book does contain a significant amount of 'behind the scenes' detail related both to contemporary political machinations and to military strategy, the account is never boring, and is always enlivened by frequent reference to the relevance of such data to subsequent events in Singapore. This is, in essence, the compelling story of a unique period in our Colonial history, and of the individual men and women involved. The tale is all the more remarkable when one considers that these events took place a mere 63 years ago. A superb read.
Smith takes an analytical and challenging look at the sheer awfulness of what happened, and it makes sobering reading. Our strategic assumptions were wrong, and we assembled the wrong force, giving them the wrong orders. A bad hand can be played well, yet, with some honourable exceptions, we failed to do even that. You read with equal fascination the story of the officer who stems the tide with his inspired leadership and the story of the officer who made the culpable decision to withdraw when there was no need to.
It is an achievement to turn a well-documented defeat into a page-turner, and Smith has achieved this in spades.
I've spent recent years researching his war, including reading 'Singapore Burning'. Imagine my delight on reading pages 306-307 of the report of 88th Field bringing down a Jap spotter-plane with Brens at Kampar!
I believe that each battery only had one Bren, so Colin Smith's book may have immortalised my relative's action in published print.
Singapore Burning is unique in the way that it constantly keeps an understanding of the 'big picture' of the progress of the battle for singapore in the reader's view; whilst soulfully bringing him, or her, close in touch with the human experiences of those living in the 'here and now' of events and actions. Not only thus, does this book break out from the herd to become the undisputed leader but also for two other reasons; (i) because the author's labour-of-love commitment to it glows from every page and, as I progressed through it, I sensed this book becoming as if friend that I could consult for the most reliable truths and likely causes and (ii) beause it is comprehensive and not limited to mostly focusing on one or two regiments.
Not least, Singapore Burning consigns to the bin once and for all any remaining question as to whether the british boots-on-the-ground had simply not tried hard enough!
Frankly, I am extremely grateful for this book's existence for all of the above reasons.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A mammoth task to do justice to a terrible part of our history, but why no mention of the epic battle of Adam Park? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Martin Boswell
A gripping, balanced & beautifully written account of a major but largely forgotten campaign.
This book analytically explores the many myths surrounding the action and... Read more
This is an undoubtedly epic tome covering the Malay campaign of 1941-42 from both the Allied and Japanese standpoints. However, the title is a bit misleading. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Geoff Saunders
It has always been difficult to find thorough and readable studies of the lost campaigns of ww2, and no campaign was more lost than Singapore. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Billy McJohnson
As a resident of Singapore,I found Colin Smith's book eye opening as to the WW2 events that took place within a couple of kilometers from where I live. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Cassell R. Meyers
Many books on the Malayan Campaign tend to use 'Singapore' in part of the title rather than 'Malayan' (compare the number of books listed under the search string 'fall of... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Chin Joo Quek
Pearl Harbor might have been a sitting duck but not Singapore. Protected by the impenetrable Malayan jungle to the north and long considered impregnable, the island city fell to... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ted Stanger
This is narrative history at its best. It is truly superb. It is a long book, almost 700 pages but i simply could not put the book down and read it in under two days. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Thomas S-R
As a military history, this account is probably one of the best. Smith integrates personal stories with the military campaigns to "bring it to life. Read morePublished 17 months ago by John R. Millspaugh
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- Books > History > Countries & Regions > Asia > South East Asia
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- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Warfare & Defence