A new perspective on the long and bloody Burma campaign, focusing on the four Allied commanders who battled not only the Japanese and their allies but also one another
This book, in essence a quadruple biography, tells the story of the four larger-than-life Allied commanders whose lives collided in the Burma campaign, one of the most punishing and protracted military adventures of World War II. Ranging from 1942, when the British suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the Empire, through the crucial battles of Imphal and Kohima ("the Stalingrad of the East"), and on to ultimate victory in 1945, this account is vivid, brutal, and enthralling.
Frank McLynn opens a new window on the Burma Campaign, focusing on the interactions and antagonisms of its principal players: William Slim, the brilliant general commanding the British 14th Army; Orde Wingate, the ambitious and idiosyncratic commander of the Chindits, a British force of irregulars; Louis Mountbatten, one of Churchill's favorites, overpromoted to the position of Supreme Commander, S.E. Asia; and Joseph Stilwell ("Vinegar Joe"), a hard-line U.S. general, also a martinet and Anglophobe. McLynn draws careful portraits of each of these men, neglecting neither strengths nor flaws, and shows with new clarity how the plans, designs, and strategies of generals and politicians were translated into a hideous reality for soldiers on the ground.
“McLynn’s fiercely partisan judgments and lucid accounts of both military and political bloodletting provide a thoroughly satisfying experience.”—Kirkus Reviews~Kirkus Reviews
"The China-Burma-India Theater is one of the most overlooked and least understood—at least for Americans. McLynn traces the complex dance of the four main military actors (Vinegar Joe Stillwell, Bill Slim, Orde Wingate, and Lord Mountbatten) through brutal jungle logistics and battles."—World War II Magazine~World War II Magazine
“This is fine history, well-written and absorbing.”—John Linsenmeyer, Greenwich Patch~John Linsenmeyer, Greenwich Patch
“This is in my judgment the best survey of the south Asian campaign in existence. . . . The work is original, well researched, and provocative without being polemical.”—Dennis Showalter, Colorado College~Dennis Showalter
“A highly opinionated history of the bloody, half-forgotten World War II jungle campaign.”—Kirkus Reviews~Kirkus Reviews
“A sad sequel to great sacrifice is to have it more or less forgotten; think of the veterans of Korea, our ‘forgotten war.’ But even amid the colossal struggles of World War II, some have been unjustly neglected by many historians. Today’s excellent book The Burma Campaign, aptly subtitled Disaster in Triumph, 1942-45, by the prominent military historian and biographer Frank McLynn, remedies this neglect."—John Linsenmeyer, Greenwich Patch~John Linsenmeyer, Greenwich Patch
Won Honorable Mention in the 2012 New York Book Festival History category, sponsored by the New York Book Festival~History Honorable Mention, New York Book Festival