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This is, hands down, the best first person account of war in the China Burma India Theater in WW2 Written by the author of the Flashman historical novels, it benefits greatly from Mr Fraser s talents as a fiction writer, but it s all true Fraser described his service in General Slim s Army in Burma as the last echo of Kipling s world , and that is not so far off the mark Having served in infantry units myself, I felt the truth of this account in my bones The strange decisions the soldiers This is, hands down, the best first person account of war in the China Burma India Theater in WW2 Written by the author of the Flashman historical novels, it benefits greatly from Mr Fraser s talents as a fiction writer, but it s all true Fraser described his service in General Slim s Army in Burma as the last echo of Kipling s world , and that is not so far off the mark Having served in infantry units myself, I felt the truth of this account in my bones The strange decisions the soldiers had to make, like whether to shoot Japanese soldiers while sleeping, or to wake them up first, are the reality of the grunt s world they decided it didn t matter much, one way or the other Fraser is brutally honest, as when he describes being in the last battle of the war, in which, finally, the invisible enemy became visible His battalion had spent months being shot at and losing men in the jungle, by Japanese who melted away in the forest, and finally they were fighting in the open he tells of his happiness in being able to finally see and shoot the enemy And yet, Fraser and his comrades were not blood thirsty few soldiers are, and those that are, are usually poor soldiers They were there to do a job and get out alive, and that s how most soldiers feel Not for the faint of heart, but so truthful in its description of the combat infantryman s world.If you have not encountered Mr Fraser in the Flashman series, you should do so Flashman, Royal Flash, and etc, etc Some very funny stuff there, but his memoir of the war in Burma is another thing altogether funny, but tragic, and true Quite simply, the best personal history of World War Two I ve read yes, the only one, but still..The moving, totally honest story of nine section in the closing days of the war, through the final battles of the Burma campaign You ll laugh quite a bit , you ll be moved a lotthan you thought and you ll ask yourself Whatthan a few times the dialogue is in the Cumbrian dialect,or less Anglicised.Highly recommended to anyone interested in the British Army, or looking for Quite simply, the best personal history of World War Two I ve read yes, the only one, but still..The moving, totally honest story of nine section in the closing days of the war, through the final battles of the Burma campaign You ll laugh quite a bit , you ll be moved a lotthan you thought and you ll ask yourself Whatthan a few times the dialogue is in the Cumbrian dialect,or less Anglicised.Highly recommended to anyone interested in the British Army, or looking for an unsanitized view of the end of the war at the sharp end Beautifully written, hopefully you ll come back again and again What a delightful book this was Fraser is better known for hisFlashman novels but this true account of his teenage experiences with the 17th Black Cat Division in Burma is nothing short of outstanding.Many of the soldiers with whom Fraser served were from Cumberland, and when he writes dialogue for these chaps he uses the Cumbrian dialect, which is nearly incomprehensible, especially if, like me, you have trouble with a regular Brit accent Fraser provides us with translation where necessary, What a delightful book this was Fraser is better known for hisFlashman novels but this true account of his teenage experiences with the 17th Black Cat Division in Burma is nothing short of outstanding.Many of the soldiers with whom Fraser served were from Cumberland, and when he writes dialogue for these chaps he uses the Cumbrian dialect, which is nearly incomprehensible, especially if, like me, you have trouble with a regular Brit accent Fraser provides us with translation where necessary, but I m glad he went this route The band of brigands he fought with were a colourful bunch, and I found the verbal exchanges laugh out loud hilarious That he loved these guys is quite obvious in the way he portrays them, and you almost feel like you know them personally, to the point of feeling a genuine sense of loss when one of them gets hit.Fraser establishes the point that most histories sanitize the circumstances of military encounters This is most likely because history deals with the overall picture and does not concentrate on the blood and sweat shed by squad sized units trying to achieve an objective Fraser corrects that in this book, and you get to follow his squad through the campaign, sharing their combat, their victories, their losses, and, yestheir atrocities as well.I heartily recommend this to any military history buff My one bitch is that there is not a single photograph in the entire book Surely these guys must have stood in front of a Kodak at one point or another I m reading George MacDonald Fraser s 1925 2008 Flashman series with a curious mixture of pleasure and distaste the pleasure arising from the excellent adventures of the ne er do well Flashman, the wonderfully reconstructed historical settings and the satire of as I see it British upper classes, patriotism and hero worship of military heroes not of military heroism itself, mind the distaste sweeping out of the many signs of racism and acts of rape and violence towards women Of course I m reading George MacDonald Fraser s 1925 2008 Flashman series with a curious mixture of pleasure and distaste the pleasure arising from the excellent adventures of the ne er do well Flashman, the wonderfully reconstructed historical settings and the satire of as I see it British upper classes, patriotism and hero worship of military heroes not of military heroism itself, mind the distaste sweeping out of the many signs of racism and acts of rape and violence towards women Of course, the latter are to be expected in a novel set in the early 19th century, but in the first volume of the Flashman series the protagonist is the primary implementer of said outrages To deal with my ambivalence I had to learnabout the author, so when I found that he had written a memoir of the Burmese corner of World War II which had been called one of the great memoirs of the Second World War by John Keegan, a well known military historian, I obtained a copy and dived right in Quartered Safe Out Here 1992 is that memoir As a fresh 19 year old recruit, MacDonald Fraser is inserted into a veteran unit engaged in pushing the Japanese out of Burma in 1945 VE Day is close, but the Japanese are unimpressed and are still a powerful force in Burma, though increasingly poorly supplied By that time the American submarine fleet had swept the sea of Japanese cargo ships, and they and the air fleet kept the Japanese warships in harbor The last suicide mission of the Japanese navy was yet to come.I ve read at least a dozen WW II memoirs written by ordinary soldiers American, British, German and Japanese , and I have found them all gripping, really But this book and William Manchester s memoirs has the advantage of being written by an experienced author, and it shows.MacDonald Fraser s evocation of the soldiers, landscape and atmosphere of that campaign is wonderful, as is his presentation of a novice soldier s experience of firefights the compression and extension of time like an accordion, the random choice of friends who fall, the absence of conscious thought as training and instinct take over The real adventures and humor are plentiful even in the attack on Pyawbwe, which broke the back of the Japanese 33rd Army, MacDonald Fraser managed to get dropped down a well MacDonald Fraser s unit was composed primarily of men from Cumberland, and he lets them speak in Cumbrian in the book It sounds a bit like Scots to me, which is reasonable enough, since the dialects are spoken in contiguous regions Some hilarious passages in the book are carried out entirely in that dialect An example the division had worked out a complicated password scheme which was beyond the mental capacity of a few of the soldiers One of those few was trying to get back into the lines and screwed up the password The entire exchange was carried out in Cumbrian what are the chances that the Japanese even knew about the dialect, much less could reproduce it , and the men knew exactly with whom they were speaking, but the farce had to be played out to the end, increasingly salted with colorful invective I was propped up in bed with tears rolling down my face.Here s a taste of the Cumbrian when they were slogging through the Burmese dry belt Wahm Ah s aboot boogered By hell, Ah could do wi some fookin joongle, Ah tell tha Maybe I m alone here, but I think this is priceless MacDonald Fraser still hated the Japanese in 1992, quoting approbatively an officer who called them a shower of sub human apes And I couldn t say that his view of other races indeed, anyone except Brits, Americans and Gurkhas is anyadvanced than that of Flashman In at least this respect, Flashman is made in the image of his creator.Returning to my original ambivalence, what is evident from this memoir and other sources on the web e.g.http www.telegraph.co.uk comment 35http www.independent.co.uk news obi is that MacDonald Fraser was a strange mixture of rigid conservative and rambunctious rebel who retreated to a tax haven, the Isle of Man, and inveighed against the poofs and pinkos running the country The only analogy for the man I can draw from my own life are the folks Americans call rednecks socially and politically arch conservative, basically contemptuous and distrustful of anybody who is not a good old boy racism is a natural corollary , but nonetheless ready to shoot any revenooer who stumbles across their still, marijuana field or crystal meth lab and to complain bitterly about the federal government s intrusion into their rights Strangely enough, their beat up pickup trucks are usually plastered with patriotic bumper stickers But still I don t understand what MacDonald Fraser s intent is by making the protagonist of the Flashman series a complete coward who always comes up roses, for he deeply admires and knows from personal experience those who bravely do their duty in warfare Those latter types are usually killed off in the Flashman series to assure that there are no living witnesses of Flashman s cowardice So the mystery is deepened At least Flashman commits no further rapes after the first volume, since, in MacDonald Fraser s words, he no longer needed to I ll then continue freely to interpret Flashman s abysmal behavior as it pleases me a satire, even if the satire is not of the kind MacDonald Fraser would approve Rating These days, if I watch historical drama on TV, I m often left with the feeling that the programme makers have imposed modern social attitudes on the period featured Maybe it was ever thus, and it s a theme that features quite prominently in George MacDonald Fraser s memoir, written in the late 80s In his introduction, the author comments that later generations have a tendency to envisage themselves in the 1940s, and imagine their own reactions, and make the fatal mistake of thinking that the These days, if I watch historical drama on TV, I m often left with the feeling that the programme makers have imposed modern social attitudes on the period featured Maybe it was ever thus, and it s a theme that features quite prominently in George MacDonald Fraser s memoir, written in the late 80s In his introduction, the author comments that later generations have a tendency to envisage themselves in the 1940s, and imagine their own reactions, and make the fatal mistake of thinking that the outlook was the same then They cannot see that they have been conditioned by the past forty years into a new philosophic condition, they fail to realise there is a veil between them and the 1940s The reader certainly gets a feeling of authenticity from this memoir Although the author considered himself a Scotsman, he grew up in the town of Carlisle, about 12 miles south of the Scottish border, where his father had a doctor s practice As a result he joined the Border Regiment, which recruited from that part of England In both nationality and class he was something of an outsider, although it seemed that it was the class differences that stood outOn one occasion, a newcomer to his section complained about stomach pains the night before an attack He ll have to go sick , I said Aye , said Forster Sick wid nerves I said it might be appendicitis and Forster spat and said, Ah doot it Peel said nothing, and we moved off to the Assembly point The author continued by observing of his comrades in arms They belonged to a culture in which windy is the ultimate insult, and in which the synonym for brave is mad , and that is all there is to be said about it As the above exchange illustrates, much of the book s dialogue is rendered in North of England dialect, easy enough for a British reader to follow, maybe harder for others The descriptions of actual fighting are both vivid and visceral, and the author is not one to express any feelings of regret or guilt On the contrary he exults in killing Japanese soldiers, whom he regarded as murderers and as rapists of civilian women He retained these feelings for the rest of his life He concedes in the book that he found it difficult to reconcile the Japanese soldier of the forties with the young men he encountered at airports in subsequent decades, but added that old habits died hard and he preferred not to sit next to them In general, it s probably fair to say that MacDonald Fraser s social and political attitudes got stuck sometime around 1947 For all that, this is an exceptionally powerful read, especially for anyone interested in WWII The book ends with a wonderful epilogue, where MacDonald Fraser attends a remembrance service on the 50th anniversary of VJ Day When I was looking for some sailing stories of the Napoleonic era, I came across the Flashman books I noted the author, George MacDonald Fraser 1925 2008 , had written his memoir about World War II I decided to get the book.The book deals with his time in Burma He served with a platoon of British Soldiers from Cumberland He used their accent in the book The Cumberland Dialect is unlike modern English but Fraser provided a translation and glossary to help the reader.The book is well written When I was looking for some sailing stories of the Napoleonic era, I came across the Flashman books I noted the author, George MacDonald Fraser 1925 2008 , had written his memoir about World War II I decided to get the book.The book deals with his time in Burma He served with a platoon of British Soldiers from Cumberland He used their accent in the book The Cumberland Dialect is unlike modern English but Fraser provided a translation and glossary to help the reader.The book is well written Fraser covers what it was like to be a British soldier in Burma from the boredom of waiting to the horrors of the close quarter jungle fighting He also provided a brief history of the war in Burma He was a young man and this was before he became a writer, but his talent comes through as does his superb storytelling ability After reading this book the reader has a good idea what it was like to fight in the jungle I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is eight hours long David Case 1932 2005 did an excellent job narrating the book He did great with the Cumberland accent and gently interpreting for the reader Case was an English actor and multi award winning audiobook narrator Case was the narrator of the Flashman Series He was one of the pioneering narrators of audiobooks and had a great British accent and voice A deeply affecting book one of the passages that stays with me is McDonald Frasers confession that he cannot forgive his former foes I ve seen this time and again with British vets of the Burmese theater a chilling testament to the savagery of the campaignand just the kind of honesty I d expect from a man as brave as Mr Fraser.Reading this book will definitely give you a much deeper appreciation of both the Flashman books and the WWII generation First, Flashman Pretty obvious if you kno A deeply affecting book one of the passages that stays with me is McDonald Frasers confession that he cannot forgive his former foes I ve seen this time and again with British vets of the Burmese theater a chilling testament to the savagery of the campaignand just the kind of honesty I d expect from a man as brave as Mr Fraser.Reading this book will definitely give you a much deeper appreciation of both the Flashman books and the WWII generation First, Flashman Pretty obvious if you know the books, but it s clear Flashman is a meditation on courage, and the struggle against fear everyone faces when pressed up against the insanity of war If you know Flashman, you know what he thinks of bravery and forthrightness Reading this book, you realize that Fraser is brother of Heller, the bomber crewman Both men eflecting back on their experience of war and saying Jesus Christ that was pure insanitywith no redeeming qualities of any kind Both men had the courage to say so, and say so beautifully It s a mystery to me why they aren t mentioned togetheroften.Next, the WWII generation Fraser has gone on to live a pretty excellent life after his time in Hell he was in the Army for a while, then took off to become a journalist, screenwriter and author His attiude towards virtue, which you also know if you know Flashman, seems driven by his experience with war It s easy to imagine a whole generation of men walking out of the carnage of the WWII and saying, let s party And who can blame them Yeah, you ll learn a lot about social history and courage if you read this book A well written, warts and all memoir about the author s time in Burma during the last year of WWII The narrative was sometimes sad and sometimes funny, but it always felt realistic Originally published in 2001, so the author included his thoughts on the changes he s seen in society since the war ended I enjoyed those parts I did have trouble with the thick Cumberland dialect I m not suggesting he should have done it any differently than he did, but sometimes it was hard for me to follow On A well written, warts and all memoir about the author s time in Burma during the last year of WWII The narrative was sometimes sad and sometimes funny, but it always felt realistic Originally published in 2001, so the author included his thoughts on the changes he s seen in society since the war ended I enjoyed those parts I did have trouble with the thick Cumberland dialect I m not suggesting he should have done it any differently than he did, but sometimes it was hard for me to follow On the other hand, the dialectic spelling had a softening effect on the soldiers language, and that was fine with me I realize foul language is typical and accurate, but I don t need to be bombarded with it Probably 4.5 stars, rounded up for Goodreads {Free Epub} ë Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II ó George MacDonald Fraser beloved for his series of Flashman historical novels offers an action packed memoir of his experiences in Burma during World War II Fraser was onlywhen he arrived there in the war s final year, and he offers a first hand glimpse at the camaraderie, danger, and satisfactions of service A substantial Epilogue, occasioned by the th anniversary of VJ Day in , adds poignancy to a volume that eminent military historian John Keegan described as one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War Excellent memoir of a small British army unit in WWII, Nine Section, in the Burmese Theatre Fraser, himself a Scot, was a member of this Cumberland unit It is backed up by native Indian troops He writes of the camaradarie of these men how they lived and fought beside each other and how they created bonds of loyalty and trust They fight the Battles of Mekteila and Pyawbwe We share their joys and sorrows Many episodes are affecting I loved the episode where Sgt Hutton, who s not really a Excellent memoir of a small British army unit in WWII, Nine Section, in the Burmese Theatre Fraser, himself a Scot, was a member of this Cumberland unit It is backed up by native Indian troops He writes of the camaradarie of these men how they lived and fought beside each other and how they created bonds of loyalty and trust They fight the Battles of Mekteila and Pyawbwe We share their joys and sorrows Many episodes are affecting I loved the episode where Sgt Hutton, who s not really all that educated, borrows a copy of Shakespeare s Henry Vee from Fraser When he returns it, he expresses most unusual and trenchant insights into the play Fraser describes RR in Calcutta at that time, India is still under the Raj The war finally ends the author writes of a reunion on VJ Day fifty years later The dialogue was written in Cumberland dialect my impression similar to a Robert Burns Scots I read the first few chapters aloud until I felt confident in connecting the written word to the pronunciation to the meaning Then I read silently I m glad the author included a short piece on the Cumberland dialect and also a glossary of Hindustani and other foreign words used by the soldiers.The style was very descriptive and readable Fraser is also known for his popular Flashman series He certainly displays his flair for writing in this memoir Recommended