THE CHANCY WAR by Edward Fischer


Winning in China, Burma, and India in World War II
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 Here, Fischer (American Studies/Notre Dame; Notre Dame Remembered, 1986) writes vividly of the ``Green Hell'' of southeast Asia after Japan struck in WW II. Chancy indeed was the Allied outlook when the Japanese military machine cut the Burma Road, thereby isolating China from the West while Japan advanced toward India. Fischer, who during the war was the army's official historian for the region, honors many heroes: General ``Vinegar Hoe'' Stillwell, who led his battered G.I.s and Chinese in the incredible ``walk out of Burma'' retreat; General Chennault and his volunteer American ``Flying Tigers,'' who destroyed hundreds of Japanese planes; the legendary Ranger regiment of ``Merrill's Marauders''; American airmen who daily flew the ``Hump'' over the high Himalayas with material to help keep China in the war; the fighting British generals Wavell and Slim; Father Stuart, the brave Irish missionary who rallied his Burmese tribesmen while confounding the enemy and saving thousands of lives. Less well treated, though, are the corrupt Chiang Kai- shek and the overbearing British Raj, which did little to aid the building of the Ledo Road through fearsome, dense jungles amid intense heat, monsoons, deadly fauna, and the Japanese enemy--one of the great feats of the war. When completed, the Ledo Road joined the retaken Burma Road to open up a 1750-mile lifeline from Calcutta to Kunming, China. Short on background material and chronology, but Fischer's impressionistic, anecdotal style will engage military-history fans. (Sixteen-page b&w insert--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-517-58424-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991