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A Dirty Distant War [Mass Market Paperback]

E. M. Nathanson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 1990
Set in IndoChina between 1944 and 1945, this novel features John Reisman, hero of "The Dirty Dozen". His task is to put together a team that will journey across China to Manchuria to gather intelligence on Japanese military strength, vital to political meetings about to take place in Europe.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This surprisingly rich sequel to Nathanson's The Dirty Dozen begins with OSS Maj. John Reisman switching from the European to the Pacific theater and parachuting into Burma to try to prevent conflict between two of America's allies, the Kachin tribesmen and the Kuomintang of bordering China. Conflicts and the peculiarly shifting Asian alliances comprise this book's themespolitics that, as history shows, resulted in still more turmoil in postwar Asia. Reisman's assignment leads him from Burma to China, where he learns of treachery among warlords and secret collaboration with the Japanese. Then it takes him to Vietnam and an unusual arrangement with the young Ho Chi Minh. In addition to action a-plenty, the narrative contains richly textured portrayals of the intersecting cultures and the sophisticated relationship of politics to this (or any) war. Assiduously researched, Nathanson's accomplished novel is an outstanding read. 35,000 first printing.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA The exploits of the leader of Nath anson's The Dirty Dozen (Random, 1965; o.p.) continue in mainland Asia in the final year of the war against Japan. Set in the murky backwater of warlord- dominated China and occupied French Indochina, the story is one of plots and counterplots, of deceitful allies and honorable opponents. Teen readers will be introduced to a seldom-explored place and time with Vietnam and its fu ture conflict foreshadowed as a place for which Americans have ``no affinity for the language, people or culture.'' Although the hero's mission is left in tentionally vague and there is no climax to match the first book's, this is a stur dy, colorful wartime adventure that il lustrates that neither the relations of people nor the histories of nations can be told in simple black and white. Mike Parsons, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Dirty Book! May 25 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book! I enjoyed it even more than 'The Dirty Dozen'.
After 'The Dirty Dozen' mission is completed, Reisman drops into Southeast Asia on an assignment to stop another OSS officer from taking his Kachin guerillas - a force with which he has been successfully fighting the Japanese in Burma - into China. However, Reisman learns that the Kuomintang in China, who are aligned with the Americans against the Japanese, have conducted brutal raids into Kachin villages and he is reluctantly swept up in the righteousness of their revenge. Things then turn on his fellow OSS officer in an unexpected way and Reisman is thus quickly introduced to the twisted alliances in this part of the world, which become even more Machiavellian as the story unfolds.
The Americans are pouring war matériel into China so that the Chinese can fight the Japanese, but most of the goods are being horded by the various Chinese warlords as insurance against one another and the rising threat from Mao Tse Tung - along with the murderous American-backed Chiang Kai-Shek, with his all-powerful head of the secret police, Tai Li.
Meanwhile, Viet Minh forces are trying to align themselves with the Americans ostensibly for the same reason - i.e., to help rid French Indochina of the Japanese. However, the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh have their own ax to grind against the French colonial powers who, now part of the Vichy government, have established an uneasy truce with the Japanese mainly due to the fact that the Japanese are a much stronger force. Ho also has to deal with the fact that various native factions within Vietnam do not necessarily want to be aligned with him against the French.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Dirty Book! May 25 2004
By Scorpio69 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book! I enjoyed it even more than 'The Dirty Dozen'.
After 'The Dirty Dozen' mission is completed, Reisman drops into Southeast Asia on an assignment to stop another OSS officer from taking his Kachin guerillas - a force with which he has been successfully fighting the Japanese in Burma - into China. However, Reisman learns that the Kuomintang in China, who are aligned with the Americans against the Japanese, have conducted brutal raids into Kachin villages and he is reluctantly swept up in the righteousness of their revenge. Things then turn on his fellow OSS officer in an unexpected way and Reisman is thus quickly introduced to the twisted alliances in this part of the world, which become even more Machiavellian as the story unfolds.
The Americans are pouring war matériel into China so that the Chinese can fight the Japanese, but most of the goods are being horded by the various Chinese warlords as insurance against one another and the rising threat from Mao Tse Tung - along with the murderous American-backed Chiang Kai-Shek, with his all-powerful head of the secret police, Tai Li.
Meanwhile, Viet Minh forces are trying to align themselves with the Americans ostensibly for the same reason - i.e., to help rid French Indochina of the Japanese. However, the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh have their own ax to grind against the French colonial powers who, now part of the Vichy government, have established an uneasy truce with the Japanese mainly due to the fact that the Japanese are a much stronger force. Ho also has to deal with the fact that various native factions within Vietnam do not necessarily want to be aligned with him against the French. Then there are the French resistance fighters who are loyal to de Gaulle who don't like the colonial Vichy government, but yet still want to maintain French colonial power in Vietnam postwar - which places them also at odds with Ho. Meanwhile, there is a Japanese Kempetai officer who is secretly aligned with Ho, because the officer sees the writing on the wall and wants to try to lessen the postwar impact on Japan -- or at least on himself -- as much as possible. In him Reisman sees something of himself and they form an uneasy alliance.

Reisman must thread the needle between all of these various factions in trying to carry out his mission, which is to assess the Viet Minh's capabilities to carry the fight against the Japanese, since Ho wants America to supply his troops with arms - ostensibly for this purpose. But Ho's real purpose is always slippery and on top of everything else, Reisman discovers treachery and double-dealing among his own people!
Whew!
A few of the surviving 'Dirty Dozen' join in the fray, and there is much excitement as the group tries to carry out their plans - not all of which are officially sanctioned.
Nathanson has done an excellent job with this book. It is very well researched and via the familiar characters from the 'Dirty Dozen' we are able to navigate through the maze of tangled alliances in this most inscrutable area of the world - an area we would later come to know all too well when we became enmeshed in the war in Vietnam.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Dirty Book! Dec 2 2004
By Scorpio69 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book! I enjoyed it even more than 'The Dirty Dozen'.

After 'The Dirty Dozen' mission is completed, Reisman drops into Southeast Asia on an assignment to stop another OSS officer from taking his Kachin guerillas - a force with which he has been successfully fighting the Japanese in Burma - into China. However, Reisman learns that the Kuomintang in China, who are aligned with the Americans against the Japanese, have conducted brutal raids into Kachin villages and he is reluctantly swept up in the righteousness of their revenge. Things then turn on his fellow OSS officer in an unexpected way and Reisman is thus quickly introduced to the twisted alliances in this part of the world, which become even more Machiavellian as the story unfolds.

The Americans are pouring war matériel into China so that the Chinese can fight the Japanese, but most of the goods are being horded by the various Chinese warlords as insurance against one another and the rising threat from Mao Tse Tung - along with the murderous American-backed Chiang Kai-Shek, with his all-powerful head of the secret police, Tai Li.

Meanwhile, Viet Minh forces are trying to align themselves with the Americans ostensibly for the same reason - i.e., to help rid French Indochina of the Japanese. However, the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh have their own ax to grind against the French colonial powers who, now part of the Vichy government, have established an uneasy truce with the Japanese mainly due to the fact that the Japanese are a much stronger force. Ho also has to deal with the fact that various native factions within Vietnam do not necessarily want to be aligned with him against the French. Then there are the French resistance fighters who are loyal to de Gaulle who don't like the colonial Vichy government, but yet still want to maintain French colonial power in Vietnam postwar - which places them also at odds with Ho. Meanwhile, there is a Japanese Kempetai officer who is secretly aligned with Ho, because the officer sees the writing on the wall and wants to try to lessen the postwar impact on Japan -- or at least on himself -- as much as possible. In him Reisman sees something of himself and they form an uneasy alliance.

Reisman must thread the needle between all of these various factions in trying to carry out his mission, which is to assess the Viet Minh's capabilities to carry the fight against the Japanese, since Ho wants America to supply his troops with arms - ostensibly for this purpose. But Ho's real purpose is always slippery and on top of everything else, Reisman discovers treachery and double-dealing among his own people!

Whew!

A few of the surviving `Dirty Dozen' join in the fray, and there is much excitement as the group tries to carry out their plans - not all of which are officially sanctioned.

Nathanson has done an excellent job with this book. It is very well researched and via the familiar characters from the `Dirty Dozen' we are able to navigate through the maze of tangled alliances in this most inscrutable area of the world - an area we would later come to know all too well when we became enmeshed in the war in Vietnam.
5.0 out of 5 stars After the Dirty Dozen June 22 2014
By HarryJames Ruffel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was very well done. I did not expect there to be a sequel and was a good read. Thanks.
5.0 out of 5 stars Major Reisman returns to southeast Asia May 4 2013
By Keith J. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book and for years it was only available in hardback. When I bought it, years ago, it was in hardback, but I loved it and now for the first time, it's in paperack. Back are Major Reisman, Vladislaw and Sargent Bowden. This time they're in southeast asia. Sort of like a preview of the Vietnam War, but during WW2. The action is all there as it was in the first book. but only three heroes this time vice 13 including Reisman. if you liked The Dirty Dozen, you will like this book. I highly reccommend it!!!
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great history, so-so fiction Oct. 15 2003
By Ralph R. Echtinaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having greatly enjoyed "The Dirty Dozen" by the same author, I was keen to read this sequel as soon as I discovered it existed.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed with "A Dirty Distant War" as with "The Dirty Dozen." That's not to say it wasn't worth reading, however.
"A Dirty Distant War" follows "Dirty Dozen" protagonist John Reisman to the CBI Theater in World War II, where he finds that some of his friends are his enemies and vice versa. Everyone is working an angle, and no one is honest about their intentions or allegiances. (Just like life.)
The balance of the book has Reisman working with Vietnamese rebels led by Ho Chi Mihn and with the garrison of a French fort.
Anyone interested in the root causes of the Vietnam War will likely be fascinated by this book, as Nathanson seems very concerned with historical accuracy.
For my taste, however, the book would have been better if the author had exercised more dramatic license. It would seem that he let his (laudable) concern with getting the facts right lessen the impact of his story.
But then again, maybe I just like a little more fiction with my historical fiction.
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