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on 14 June 2017
I read a lot of military biographies and autobiographies. In general it is in the description of the events, bravery, stoicism and sacrifice by ordinary but extraordinary people. However this book not only gives a heart rending account of the Chindits actions which almost belies belief but it is so beautifully descriptively written
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on 5 November 2017
brings out the horror of fighting in the jungle
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on 28 September 2017
very good read
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on 5 March 2017
A brilliant account of what the war in Burma was really like, together with the authors personal feelings.
Also a good insight into the mindset of the many various types of people's from that time.
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on 12 October 2017
Very good
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on 26 July 2017
very interesting
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on 4 May 2015
My daughter came across this book recently and the first I knew was her Facebook posting "It's not often you read a book and find your grandfather mentioned more than once before chapter 4!" I had never heard of this book before. My father, Geoffrey Birt, is mentioned throughout the book and because it is the author's very personal memoir rather than simply a military record, it has given me a very strong insight into what my father had to face up to in those dark days. Because this memoir is so very personal we get a glimpse inside the emotional response of an individual involved in a remorseless war from many different aspects - not least of all because throughout the turmoil he somehow manages to 'fall in love' - which must surely remind us that a soldier's humanity is not erased despite the inhumanity of the war he in which finds himself. Seeing my father's name recur throughout the book I know he must have shared many of the experiences described in this book and I became aware for the first time of what Dad, as a 27 year old from London who had only arrived in India shortly before war was declared, must have endured in order to survive. I dreaded turning the page at times but I am glad I read it through. What strength of will, what amazing inner resources, what bravery they showed. My father, like the author, walked out of the jungle uninjured - at least physically - one can only imagine what his mental state was. I wish this book had been published when my father was still alive - he died in 1995 and he never spoke in any depth about his wartime experiences to either me or my brothers. I would have welcomed the chance to tell him I understood so much more now. So, though others criticise this book because of the style of writing or from the military point of view, it has touched me more profoundly than any other book I have read about the Chindits campaign in Burma.
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on 12 January 2012
This is the memoir of a junior officer of 111 Indian Brigade headquarters, during the Chindit campaign of 1944. Unpublished at the author's death in 1987, it is well written, if slightly florid in style at times, and is extremely outspoken in both tone and content. This you may find challenging. I must admit my initial misgivings when I realised the significance of the double meaning of the title `Chindit Affair'. My doubts seem justified in the early chapters -- training in India -- when we learn that the author had fallen in love with his Gurkha orderly. Indeed, these early chapters do have a slight flavour of `It Ain't Half Hot Mum'. However, I am forced to admit that I was wrong. Baines' relationship with his orderly, or at least his version of their relationship, is absolutely central to this memoir. Once the brigade is behind enemy lines things begin to get a lot more serious. Initially Baines, in his somewhat privileged position as HQ defence platoon commander, retains his upbeat mood, but this begins to change once contact with the enemy is established. By the time we get to the Blackpool disaster, in which he was not directly involved, the full horror of the brigade's situation becomes clear. His own low point comes during the fighting for Point 2171, and it is here that we appreciate the true significance of his relationship with his orderly. What emerges is a heartbreaking and remarkably honest story.
A particularly interesting aspect of this memoir is the author's relationship with the Gurkhas of the brigade HQ defence platoons. He makes us vividly aware of the difficulties facing a lone British officer, commanding a group of men of whom he knows little. In many British officer's memoirs Indian and Gurkha troops appear almost as automatons, but here they appear as real people with their own very real problems.
His observations on the British officers of 111 Indian Brigade are equally interesting, particularly his description of Lentaigne's `breakdown'. Masters, with one significant exception, comes across as a somewhat stern and remote, headmaster-like, figure. This provides an interesting counterpoint to Master's own account `The Road Past Mandalay'. Richard Rhodes-James, whose own memoir `Chindit' is equally strongly recommended, provides the foreword to this book. In it he concludes by saying "Share my delight that war has so many faces" a sentiment that I can only echo. This is certainly not a conventional military memoir, but an important one nevertheless, and it is strongly recommended.
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on 17 September 2011
This was an unexpected delight for those like myself who are very interested in the Burma Campaign
Frank Baines' account edited and published after his death was a fascinating read and he was a remarkable and unusual man
It is a vivid account of a controversial incursion behind japanese lines and I would heartily recommend it to those interested in Military History and especially the Chindit campaign
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on 17 February 2015
Poorly written and too slanted towards homosexuality.
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