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


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Paperback, Apr 2001
CDN$ 41.81 CDN$ 14.07

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Akadine Pr (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585790249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585790241
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.5 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,103,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"There is no doubt that it is one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War." -- John Keegan

From the Publisher

At the age of nineteen, the author saw nerve-wracking action during the British army's struggles against the Japanese in Burma, the last great land campaign of World War II. Fraser has now added to his rattling-good common soldier's memoir a substantial new afterword occasioned by the fiftieth anniversary of VJ-Day.

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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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross on Sept. 12 2002
Format: Paperback
Before Fraser became well known for his "Flashman" series of comic historical novels, he was an enlisted man in the 17th Division of the 14th Indian Army during WWII. Almost 50 years later, he recounts his wartime experience in Burma from the perspective of his section of about eight or so men, all from Cumbria in NW England. With his many writerly gifts, he gives a mostly unvarnished account of what he did and saw, capturing battle actions and anecdotes with sharp and often witty prose.
Fraser's account is very much a personal one, and throughout the book he rails against contemporary mores and broader political correctness concerning the war. He is quite open about how the British forces believed themselves to be superior beings compared to the Japanese they fought-and points to Japanese POW camps as a vindication of this. Similarly, he reports the campfire discussions after his unit saw newsreels from liberated concentration camps, in which all agreed that Germany needed to be razed to the ground. Fraser himself provides an emphatic defense of the use of nuclear bombs on Japan. And in his defense, it is true that the latest scholarship on the subject is in agreement that Japan was not on the brink of surrender at the time.
Beyond these larger issues, the memoir is perhaps at its best when telling the smaller stories. The character of his Cumbrian comrades, the descriptions of various "native" units such as the Gurkhas, Pathans, Sikhs, and especially a hilarious description of the Army's East African drivers. There's a great bit where he falls down a well in the middle of an attack, and another great part where an uneducated Sergeant borrows his copy of Shakespeare's Henry V and definitively concludes that Shakespeare had been a soldier.
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