If any writer could persuade the American reading public to read a detailed record of five years as a very junior officer of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles, that one might well be John Masters. For he was that young officer, fifth generation of his family to serve in India. He is known in the U.S.A. for a number of distinguished novels, with Indian backgrounds. Here we have his authority. Born in Calcutta, of English parentage, he was educated in England- there is something of that English education here, too- then came back to India, and ""fell in love with it"". There are long stretches of analysis of the composition of the British military organization in India that will- even written as Masters can write- bore most Americans. But there is a great deal more:- the human side, the just slightly tongue-in-cheek response to the traditional attitudes and disciplines of the soldier's life. (One understands a great deal more about the British sense of responsibility after reading this, even if the sympathy is still lacking.) Then, too, there is adventure,- ambushes, attack by tiger, bivouacs in sleet, frontier troubles, the jungles, the mountains. There's a glimpse into the psychology of the color problem, too. There's flavor and richness here, in a portrait of a modern India with something of the Kipling aura, while at the same time detachment from it. Pick your market -- definitely for those eager to broaden their horizons beyond the limited understanding we have of Britain and India. This volume goes up to World War II- the phony war behind them. Selected for January Book of the Month, this will have that head start over the hurdle of some of the difficulties.