Brian MacArthur

Four Musketeers

The Burma Campaign: Disaster into Triumph

By

The Bodley Head 532pp £20 order from our bookshop

It would take the combined talents of a Zola, a Dostoevsky and a Céline, according to Frank McLynn, to tell the epic story of William Slim’s 14th Army in Burma during the Second World War. His aim is a more modest ‘history from above’, to tell the story of the ‘Forgotten Army’ through the biography of four of the Burma campaign’s big beasts – Slim; Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia Command; the American general Joseph Stilwell; and the Chindit leader, General Orde Wingate. McLynn thinks of them as the Burma campaign’s Four Musketeers – Mountbatten, the boastful royalist and self-publicist, plays d’Artagnan; Slim, the soldier and man of integrity, is Athos; General Wingate, with his Machiavellianism and vaulting ambition, is Aramis; and the honest, gullible extrovert Stilwell is Porthos.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,