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on 13 April 2018
In this one volume account of Viscount Slim and his life, the first part of the book focuses on his humble origins and entry into the army as a second lieutenant during the first world war, where he eventually became captain, and was wounded badly once in Gallipoli, and once in Mesopotamia, and was awarded the Military Cross. At least 2 thirds of the book focuses on Slim in World War 2, where he was sent to Eritrea and wounded once again and Syria, before he was sent to Burma to take command of the forgotten 14th army, finally defeating the Japanese and driving them out of Burma. After Burma, he retired but was subsequently made Governor General of Australia until 1960, and was thus elevated to the peerage for this rather than his achievements in Burma. Overall, I really enjoyed the way the book was written and reads like a novel, especially the chapters on Slim and his tactics used to defeat the Japanese in Burma. Viscount Slim deserves to be remembered more than Viscount Montgomery, and he could not have had a better biographer.
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on 23 May 2014
Slim's standing as a military commander, leaders and all round 'good bloke' seems to grow and grow. A few acquaintences who had served in the 14th Army, and who were far from naive or easily impressionable, and by the time I knew them had been afforded plenty time to ponder on their youthful experiences did seem to hold Slim in the respect and affection that this book makes out was widespread. As an Authorised biography it does appear lacking in criticism, and what criticism of Slim's actions that appear in the book almost always seem to come from Slim himslef - and as anyone who has read Deafeat into Victory will be aware, Slim was quite hard on himself when reviewing his past actions. This book is easy to read, it perhaps over simplifies some of the battles fought, but in understanding the man himself it may not be necessary to go into great detail - and as an overview it reads all the better for this simplicity. Clearly written, a few annoyng errors (e.g. the Japanese using "stukas' - one assumes a mistaken general term for 'dive bombers' -although the British use 'dive bombers'). few books make me ignore pressing paperwork on my desk to 'sneak' a read at the next few pages (inevitably becoming the next chapter or so) - this one did, as a reflection of the subject matter and the clarity of the writing. A very good read indeed
4 people found this helpful
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on 5 November 2013
Russell Miller - the author of the definitive book on Church of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah - has done a brilliant job in telling the life of Bill Slim, the greatest general in British military history, the leader of the forgotten 14th Army who triumphed against the Japanese Army in Burma. They went 1,000 miles backwards - the longest retreat - and 1,000 miles forward, the longest advance. Throughout the worst of times, Uncle Bill kept his integrity and his great sense of humour.

At times I laughed out loud, at times I was close to tears in reading this great story, told by one of the great story-tellers alive today.

Read it.
11 people found this helpful
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 March 2018
What a guy. I was going to Myanma/Burma so decided to read up on the British involvement there during the 2nd WW. This was an area a knew very little about so purchased this book based on other peoples recommendations. Not only did I learn a lot about the British and Japanese fighting in Burma but I discovered Uncle Bill. Field Marshal Viscount Slim's story as recounted here is a must read, a page turner, an epic adventure. I loved it.
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on 23 May 2014
This biography tells the story of a person who achieved much and to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude for the world we know today, however small. It is also a source of inspiration for anyone aspiring to leadership.
Try as it does, though; this book cannot bring to life the conflicts and hard choices which were faced by Bill Slim during his lifetime. His own book 'Defeat into Victory' is vivid, by comparison: it brings the subject to life.
This Book is a fitting tribute to Bill Slim. Defeat into Victory was Slim's own tribute: to his men.
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on 24 January 2014
I do not usually write reviews but in this case I felt I had to say what a wonderful book Russell Miller has written. Mind you, he did have a marvelous subject to write about. William Slim, Uncle Bill, comes over as a very unassuming man, quite without the ego and pettiness that affected many of the top men. He had the knack of identifying with all ranks and he even got on well with Vinegar Joe Stillwell.No wonder the men of 'his' 14th. Army adored him and later, the Aussies took him to their hearts as Governor General. As another reviewer has said, the inclusion of maps would have been a great help, but do not let this small niggle put you off buying this wonderful book and learning about a great general.
One person found this helpful
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on 3 September 2015
Like many people I'd heard very little about Bill Slim and the forgotten war in Burma until I came across this superb biography. What an amazing human being/war hero, makes you feel totally inadequate and in awe and so grateful that we had a guy like Slim and his wonderful 14th Army to fight the fight in that most savage of campaigns against the "invincible" Japanese army.
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on 25 October 2013
My father served in a mobile field hospital under Slim from India all way through Burma to Malaya from 1943-45. He reviewing the book now, and so far is immeasurably imprsssed. I am sure he will find many memory-jogging details in the book about the 'forgotten armies' in 1945.
6 people found this helpful
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on 7 May 2017
Very workmanlike attempt at analysing and explaining a supreme example of a very ordinary soldier.

Interesting to read of the politics and personalities that might have caused Slim's downfall and which Slim does not even acknowledge in his own "Defeat Into Victory" - indeed of the personal support given him by Mountbatten that secured him his post-war career and eminence.
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on 23 January 2015
Having read Defeat into Victory and enjoyed it so much I wanted to know more about the man himself. This book describes in great detail the life of an inspirational leader and hero of WWII who lead the 'forgotten 14th Army' to victory in SE Asia. I was so sad to read about this great man's demise in old age and even shed a tear at the end of the book as he succumbed to the merciless ravages of old age. My father served under General Slim during the War as a junior staff officer and spoke very both admiringly and fondly of him which spurred me to find out more about him.
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