Road of Bones
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n early 1942, District Commissioner Charles Pawsey stood in the hills overlooking Kohima watching the first of thousands of refugees scrambling for the safety of India. The Japanese army was advancing through Burma and would eventually arrive at the Indian border, in the high peaks and thick jungle of the Naga Hills, thought to be impassable by any army.
Pawsey's bungalow and tennis court at Kohima became the pivotal scene of one of the most ferocious and important (but largely forgotten) battles in living memory. In a siege that lasted 16 days and nights, a garrison of 1,500 British and Indian soldiers, hemmed in, short of rations and nowhere to move their wounded, faced a Japanese attacking force of 15,000.
Told from all perspectives, Fergal Keane brings his trademark narrative skill to the astounding story of Kohima - its heroism and brutality. He recounts the wider battle and the principal commanders, the intimate slaughter of the siege and the grim aftermath - the horrific Japanese withdrawal, the long-term effect on veterans and the end of Empire in the East - in the most vivid and well-researched account yet of this epic turning point of World War II.