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Quartered Safe Out Here: A Recollection of the War in Burma Paperback – Apr 1 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Akadine Press (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585790249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585790241
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,900,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Marshall on June 22 2001
Format: Paperback
The author describes his experiences of life with the dour, no-nonsense, Cumbrian ( an area of North-west England, known for its down-to-earth approach to life ) regiment, fighting close combat against the Japanese in Burma - the forgotten army in the forgotten war. This is definitely a man's book, the disparaging humour between the men being characteristic of the British army, and better than hours of contemporary "comedy".
The descriptions of the child-like yet deadly (to the Japanese) ghurkas and charismatic Field Marshal Slim are inspirational. On one occasion a small ghurka band holds a position against wave after wave of suicidal Japanese assaults; then it's discovered they don't have a single round of ammunition between them, relying rather on their weapon of choice - the "kukri" - curved machete-like knife - leaving piles of Japanese dead all around them.
There is a hilarious portrayal of a type unique to the British army - the eccentric upper-class officer, who has no fear of danger, takes the war as something of fun, and is absolutely deadly in his effectiveness towrads the enemy.
In my opinion this is a unique, precious book - to be treasured - showing war in the raw, as it really was, with real people, right up against the battlezone. These guys just got on with the job. Buy this book. You will read it with relish, and return to it when you need an uplift. Sheer pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Manray9 on Jan. 26 2004
Format: Paperback
There are a few personal accounts of war and its impact on a man that stand out in the sea of such literature -- works such as "Goodbye to All That," "Homage to Catalonia," and "The Men I Killed." "Quartered Safe Out Here" has now joined that short list. MacDonald Fraser is the acclaimed author of the Flashman series of historical fiction, but here he reveals his own experience as an infantryman in merciless combat against the Japanese in Burma. Here is an all-too-vivid recollection of the fear, pain, discomfort and -- yes -- the pleasure of comradeship among the common soldiers who win or lose ALL wars. MacDonald Fraser reminds us that wars are not just "politics by other means," wars are about young men -- their lives, their deaths, and their friendships. As one reviewer said, MacDonald Fraser "has raised a memorial" with this book. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim Burk on April 20 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For the last ten years I have been more or less obsessed with writing a series of Second World War novels in the period before the Americans rewrote the war in their own image. Not that I haven't enjoyed many of the well-written American war stories, but George McDonald Fraser has an authenticity unparalleled in my experience. Authentic, yet tremendously interesting. Some of that interest grows from his application of dialect. I wish I could write half as well. Fraser also had some fun with the "Flashman" series which also carry a core of authenticity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on May 26 2004
Format: Paperback
George Macdonald Fraser has written an utterly gripping and unforgettable memoir of the war in Burma, where he served with a company of men mainly from Cumberland. His comrades are vividly described so that you feel you have known them yourself, and it is a terrible shock when nearly halfway through the book one of them is killed during a bloody nighttime battle. There are richly comic passages too, like the time the section is given the job of gathering up provisions from an air drop, and return laden with stolen booty, or the time they are terrorised by a giant centipede, or the time Fraser falls down a well. Every time I read this book I find myself wishing that I had been one of those young men fighting my way through the jungle, which is completely crazy, as the closest I've ever come to combat is seperating two squabbling toddlers. By the end of the book, when Fraser leaves to become an officer, I feel as sad as if I was saying goodbye to my own friends, and I can never hear the tune "bye-bye blackbird" without substituting the Burma version "you've been out with Sun-Yat-Sen, you won't go out with him again, Shanghai bye-bye!" The most astonishing thing is that he was only nineteen when he was performing incredible acts of courage in the jungle, eventually even having to lead the section himself. An extraordinary story, told bu a superb writer. Read it and laugh. Read it and weep. Read it and wish you were there too. Oh, just read it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Required reading if one wants to have a feeling how the British and allied grunts of the 14th army fought, lived and survived the torture of their predicament in WW2 Burma with their backs against the wall. After reading this you should never complain about your own life\s "simple" problems. I know I rarely complain now!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Geroge Machdonald Fraser wrote this 50 years after the events in WW II Burha when the Japanese were defeated on land. It is an unapologetic, very politically incorrect memoire of a foot soldier. It is unalloyed with sentimentality or maudlin heroics and therefore reads like the real thing. This was not a war theatre I was very familar with, but as I respected the author who recently passed away, I wanted to read his perspective on events. I have come away with a greater respect and that he went on to write the McAusland chronicles and the Flashman series is truly a credit to a veteran of a very nasty war.
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