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Fighting Through to Kohima: A Memoir of War in India and Burma Hardcover – 13 Feb 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Leo Cooper Ltd; First Edition edition (13 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844150038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844150038
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 923,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Lt Col Michael Lowry MC MBE pursued a successful military career until his retirement when he became a sheep farmer. He lives near Shaftesbury, Dorset.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many readers will remember Michael Lowry's superb account as a Company Commander in Arakan in 1944, a book published shortly after the war and now long out of print. He has now returned to print with an excellent, readable and very personal account of the war, taking his infantry company through the `Box' battles in Arakan in February and March 1944 to the turning point battles of the Kohima hills in April and May 1944. Lowry begins by painting in the fascinating context of his time at Sandhurst at the outset of war followed by regimental service on the North West Frontier, an experience that bonded him fully into his regimental family and taught him the necessary detail of soldiering in plenty of time before he was thrown into the maelstrom that was Burma. He writes as an ordinary man, leading well-trained and disciplined troops in the desperate struggles against a fanatical enemy in the gloom of the Arakan jungle and the mud, rain and hand-to-hand terror of the Kohima ridge. In so doing, however, he comes across as a professional, caring and diligent leader, looking after each of his soldiers as he would one day care for the sheep on the farm he went on to run after his retirement.

The book is a refreshing antidote to the `jungle hell' variety of Burma Campaign history. Lowry's perspective by contrast is that of an infantry leader in a well-ordered and disciplined team, in no way dominated or outclassed by the fanatical `warrior ants' (as Slim called them) of the Japanese Imperial Army against whom they were fighting. It is a story of complete professionalism, of a commitment to maintaining the highest standards in the fastidious detail of an infantryman's existence, and of hard and relevant training.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Michael Lowry wrote "Fighting through to Kohima" LEST WE FORGET, and it's the story of a professional soldiers experiences starting on the Northwest Frontier, and then in India and Burma, particularly in the Arakan (Burma) and at Kohima (Assam). It's a rounded portrait eg beginning with the authors family background (Lowry was born in 1919), taking time to stress things the author found important, eg chocolates forwarded to the front line, ... tea breaks to fortify the men, well turned out troops, and the wonderful qualities of the British soldier. I particularly enjoyed the initial chapter about Lowry's background (eg his sister being a debutante), and the later climactic chapter about Jail Hill. There is a description of part of the battle for Kohima, more accurately for Jail Hill at Kohima, which impresses by it's concise account of what must have been hell. The battles for Imphal and Kohima were a turning point in the Burma War, and saw some of the hardest fighting ever. Mr Lowry's battalion sustained very heavy casualties at Kohima.

Nevertheless, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped. The reasons include that it's based upon contemporary diary entries, and at times felt like reading stale press cuttings - at times the text is a bit stilted. Mr Lowry is not a gifted writer. More importantly, perhaps as many soldiers would do, he states the facts more than he reveals and dramatizes emotions. For such reasons, I've rated the book 3*. The book is a testament to how things were, how it seemed from a professional soldiers point-of-view, the genius of British soldiers, the tremendous toughness of the Japanese enemy, ...but I don't think it's up to the standard of some other Burma war memoirs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A personal account by the author of his experiences as an infantry subaltern on the Indian North West frontier against the Pathans followed by action against the Japanese in Arakan and Kohima.

This is a story worth reading. Whilst it is not in the same literary class as "Quartered safe out here" and "Bugles and a Tiger", it offers a similar perspective of what it was like to participate in some of the bitterest fighting on the Burma front. The author frames his account around diary entries written at the time and this gives an valuable insight into what was important to him. What comes over very strongly are the personal attributes that go towards making an effective platoon and company leader... The need to set an example, the care for his men, the need to do a job effectively without wasting lives, and finally his pride in his men and his regiment.

I found the company commander perspective of the fighting in Arakan and Kohima to be very effectively conveyed and I felt I gained a genuine insight into what it must have been like to experience life as a junior infantry commander in Burma at that time. For that reason I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to those who have a similar interest.

Like others I have found the "translation" of accompanying maps into Kindle format highly exasperating. There is no technical reason why maps have to be displayed in such a small format. Less that a quarter of the display page (and with the wrong page orientation!) is very simply sloppy technical adaptation. If I had paid the same price as for a physical book I would have been very aggrieved. I hope publishers take note for the future.
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