BOOK REVIEW: BURMA DROP

Created: 9/1/1958

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BURMA DROP. By John Beamish. fLradon: Elek Books and Toronto: Ryersen. ) '

This autobiographical account of espionage and guerrilla activity in tbe Japanese-held Biirma jungles is unfolded by Its

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Qexman rendering.

Recent Book!

Anglo-Burmese authorultured British prose sometimes incongruous with the dashing, adventure-happy flavor which It haa In common with other tales of OSS exploits around the world.atter of fact Beamish, presumably out of respect for his secrecy oath, delicately avoids implicating tbe OSS In the Burmese operations he details. He gives his employer aa British, describes his fellow-agonls as though they were all British, and acknowledges the existence of American operations only in picturing his chance encounter with alone Texan whose extravagant personal equipment wasof the White Knight's mad miscellany.

This reticence with respect to his true employer prevents him from telling the reader that his first mission, to which heabout half his book, was one of the two or three early successes which convinced General Stilwell and local Army headquarters that OSSeserved full supportair share of the scarce means and materiel available In the theater. The ten-man party with which Lt. Beamish made his first parachute drop, Inlew up bridges in tbe Myiikyina area along the Japanese supply route from Mandalay and then spent several months Lnvestlgalingin northern Burma and sending back intelligence reports by radio before making its way to Fort Hertz via the Triangle.

Beamish, the records Indicate, did leavefter this mission, innd the other two missions he describes were presumably carried out under the auspices of, whose operations were more or less coordinated with those of the OSS. At any rate these two later assignments of the author coincide In character with the two emergent plutses ofa developing activityduring mostoncentration on the gathering of intelligence by espionage teams, and5 the organisation and direction of guerrilla warfare with irregular forces, largely Kachln, which came to number as manyeamish' second mission wasto determining the vulnerability of the ferries along the Salween boundary between Japanese- and Chinese-he Idand to assessing the strength of local defense forces and possibilities for guerrilla recruitment. The active guerrilla warfare phase of operations began lor him in5 when he was parachuted downuerrilla center beingnear Lashlo. Highlights of this mission were the res-

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cuehan chief, along with some sixty members of bis household, from Japanese Internment, and the routing ofregulars attacking an airstrip.

Burma Drop illustrates authentically the tradecraft of Jungle operations; but the reader will probably remember it best for the author's tore of his green Burmese forests, his warmfor the Kachlns. his nostalgia for the timber camp and its elephants who courageously "lilted" the refugees1 into Assam, and his melancholy acquiescence to the passingracious colonial era.1

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