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Review for First Burma Campaign

Author/Director : Colonel E.C.V. Foucar

Format : Book

This book, written very soon after the event, is a unique official account of the British Burma army’s fighting withdrawal northwards through Burma. The story is all about movement and lines of communication, basically the holding of towns and river lines and the retreat from them. It is impossible to gain a full understanding of the campaign from this book because there aren’t any maps, except a very general one of the whole country at the start of the book. Clearly the author, probably rightly for his audience at the time, assumed that the reader had access to good maps of the country. Today it is both inconvenient and difficult to get a usefully scaled map with place names as they are referred to in the text. The publisher, conscious of audience, should have foreseen this and included six or seven appropriately sized maps for without any the book loses much of its value.
Some of the descriptive writing about the nature of the country and the conditions under which the troops laboured is of the highest quality. Also the massive amount of detail in some of the engagements puts the reader in the front line. The summary chapters at the end of the book are most perceptive and help to put the thinking of the time into its correct context.
This is an important text insomuch as the purpose, the time and the place of its creation give it authenticity. Sadly for the reader without a map to hand the bulk of the content cannot be fully understood.

Published by : Frontline Books, 2020
ISBN : 978 1 52678 321 9

Review last updated : 2020-09-21 14:14:43

See also : other "World War 2" reviews