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The Road Past Mandalay: A Personal Narrative
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The Road Past Mandalay: A Personal Narrative (Masters Autobiography Trilogy #2)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  144 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
This is the second part of John Masters' autobiography: how he fought with his Gurkha regiment during World War II until his promotion to command one of the Chindit columns behind enemy lines in Burma. Written by a bestselling novelist at the height of his powers, it is an exceptionally moving story that culminates in him having to personally shoot a number of wounded Brit ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published March 1979 by Bantam Books (first published August 24th 1961)
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Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for rip-roaring-blazing-WWII-action, look elsewhere.

This is John Master's second installment of his three-part memoir about his military career and what came after. This volume details his time as an entry-to-mid level Staff officer during WWII in the Iraq and Burma campaigns. Naturally, given the duties of his rank, much of this book reflects the tedium of planning and commanding troops from a battlefield headquarters.

However, that doesn't make it a tedious book. Masters was a
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
copied and pasted KIRKUS REVIEW

A personal record of far more general interest than might be expected from the statement of its content: ""the story of how a professional officer of the old Indian Army reached some sort of maturity both as a soldier and a man"". Masters has a rare gift for story telling, and even the facts of his professional training, of the details of strategy and tactics in jungle warfare, behind enemy lines in Malaya, come alive and make absorbingly interesting reading was th
Vikram Kadian
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dark , with dark humour in abundance, Masters gives out the stuff soldiers see and experience in war with enough simplicity to make you feel the pain and anguish and triumph of human spirit at one go. Go read.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Honest and riveting.....
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
Somehow, the higher ranking a soldier is, the less impactful an account of war and battles he is able to write. Perhaps because high level strategy and planning do not make for as exciting reading as the foot soldier going at it hand to hand with the enemy in the trenches. Not unless the reader is also well acquainted with technical jargon of military planning. Try as he did to describe the hardships and atrocities of the war in Burma, I just could not empathize with the author's retelling of th ...more
Prem Rao
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If " Bugles and a Tiger" spoke of Master's early career in British India, this the second part of his autobiography covers the period of the Second World War. Masters was an officer in the Guorkha Rifles and saw action on the Burmese front against the Japanese. Towards the end of the fighting in Burma, Masters was the commander of one of the Chindit columns organised by Brig Orde Wingate. The book covers what it took to be a staff officer on the war front and how difficult it was to balance the ...more
Jack Hwang
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the few war memoirs that could grasp the readers from the beginning to the end. It's a personal narrative and, of course, full of personal reflection. I believe most of the readers would like the part about 111th Brigade -- especially his command and the feats he went through with it. Oh, readers would like the mountain trekking as well -- some gems of fluent nature writing that should not be skimmed through.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This was the sequel to Masters' Bugles and a Tiger.
The glimpses of Second World War-era Iraq and Iran were fascinating if brief.
The material on the Burma Campaign of the Second World War was quite interesting. This book would have probably been better read after the reading of a more formal history of the Burma Campaign as Masters was writing at a time when his references were fresher in the memories of his readers.
Monty Milne
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing and beautifully written - as battle narrative it is excellent, but it is far more than that. Nostalgia for a world that was passing (British India), admiration for allies and enemies alike (except for Vinegar Joe Stillwell, who gets enjoyably skewered) and fascinating insights into some key players of WW2 such as Slim and Wingate. I'm only sorry this book was sitting on my shelves for years before I finally got round to reading it.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
A first person narrative into the world of warfare set in the Asian continent prior a lot of modern borders in World War 2. Great insight into the protocols and strategy planning of an officer versus the general foot soldier live action you usually get with WWII memoirs. I'd say the pace is humdrum slow but consistent.
David Hill
Dec 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Masters takes us through his experiences fighting first in Syria, Iraq, and Iran then (after a stint at General Staff school) in the brutal Burma campaign leading Chindits behind Japanese lines. Superbly told.
(1961 Harper edition.)
William  Shep
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of the better autobiographical accounts of the Second World War, from the point of view of a British officer who served in some little known campaigns in Iraq and Syria as well as more well known operations in India and Burma (the once and future Myanmar).
Neil Funsch
Great read. Nothing better than reading a memoir written by an English novelist about their life and adventures. Anecdotes are alive, characters are skillfully drawn and descriptions are like illustrations. This is the third excellent memoir I have been blessed with reading this year. The other two are First Light by Geoffrey Wellum (not written by a novelist but outstanding nonetheless) and Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser. A brilliant book full of humanity, insight and drama ...more
Matthew Dambro
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second volume of Masters' autobiography; it is brilliant in every way. It is well researched, beautifully written and honestly evocative of a lost world. It would have been an honor to know the man. It is a must read for anyone interested in the Burma campaign of the Second World War.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
The Road Past Mandalay turned out to be quite an interesting read. Masters writes about his personal experience as an English officer serving with Anglo/Indian units during WWII. The book begins with Masters as an adjutant in the Middle East, followed by staff college in India, and then with the Chindits (guerillas) air dropped behind Japanese lines in Burma and finally with a front line unit in Burma.

The book was recommended as a firsthand account of the guerilla campaign in Burma. It took abou
Terry Mackenzie
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating read about John Masters's experiences as an infantry officer in WW2 in Iraq and Burma.

Particularly absorbing for me when he served in the Chindits alongside The Cameronians: for example, his descriptions of Cameronian personalities such as Col Henning (who was a young Lt Mackay's CO later in Malaya)
Mark Neuer
Nov 13, 2011 added it
Shelves: history
Interesting so far.
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Masters was the son of a lieutenant-colonel whose family had a long tradition of service in the Indian Army. He was educated at Wellington and Sandhurst. On graduating from Sandhurst in 1933, he was seconded to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) for a year before applying to serve with the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles. He saw service on the North-West Frontier with the 2nd bat ...more
More about John Masters...

Other Books in the Series

Masters Autobiography Trilogy (3 books)
  • Bugles and a Tiger: My Life in the Gurkhas (Cassell Military Paperbacks)
  • Pilgrim Son: A Personal Odyssey