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Within a year of retiring from the army Bernard Fergusson fulfilled a cherished ambition when, accompanied by his wife,he revisited Burma, the scene of his war~time experiences,so vividly recorded in Beyond the Chindwin & The Wild Green Earth.But the Burma which called the soldier to return was certainly not the Burma of the busy wharves of Rangoon & of the oil tanks along the River;it was not even the land where " the wind is in the palm~trees, an' the temple~bells they say, Come you back, you British soldier;come you back to Mandalay! " It was a far country where rolling miles of green forest swept north & east to the distant hills beyond which lay China. It was here that scenes revisited aroused a feeling of exhilaration at being back in familiar country~this time among friends.The author faithfully communicates his reactions:the pleasure of not being wholly forgotten; the thrill of seeking & meeting people who at one time risked their lives to hide,feed & guide British soldiers in desperate straits; the satisfaction of now being able to supplement the whispered farewell by starlight with articulate thanks;& sometimes the anguish of hearing of terrible reprisals. & so this strange 2~member expedition made its itinerary,visiting the bridge in Railway Valley which had cost so much to demolish,penetrating the one~time Stronghold of the White City,which had derived its name from the number of parachutes hanging significantly on the trees, and other places where now forgotten men fought and died. Such a return of the soldier to scenes that hold so many memories must be a tremendously emotional experience; but it is perhaps the great virtue of this admirable record that the prevailing mood is gay,witty & high~spirited .In contrast, those pages in which the author depicts the sombre reality of ruthless jungle warfare have a moving quality in which nevertheless pride overcomes poignancy


256 p b&w photos
h/c with scruffy d/j
Collins, 1962
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  • Seller location: Napier, Hawke's Bay, NZ

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