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Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II Paperback – October 17, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"No doubt one of the great memoirs of the Second World War." —John Keegan

"Fraser is an excellent popular historian." —Time Magazine

"Quartered Safe Out Here, an account of his experiences as a soldier in the Burma Campaign, is as vivid, compassionate, and courageous a picture of small-scale fighting as any the Second World War produced." —National Review

"George MacDonald Fraser writes superbly." —Washington Post
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A Brilliantly entertaining read, with all the narrative power, gift for dialogue and surprising twists and turns that would be expected of flashman's creator...Fraser is unrivalled at the storyteller's essential crafts..." - Gary Mead, Financial Times

"This is a book as good as anything Fraser has written...decorated with the beautifully-observed dialogue of which he is a master...A moving and penetrating contribution to the literature of the Burma campaign" - Max Hastings, Daily Telegraph

"His new book deserves to reach out to an even larger audience...The sense of front-line danger is palpable and the smell of action is remarkable. His descriptions of the sudden violent actions are breathtaking. This is battle as it is done" - Melvyn Bragg, Evening Standard

"Fraser's is quite the most vividly realistic account of the sharp end of the war in Burma that i have read...If you have enjoyed Fraser's 'Flashman' books you will enjoy the racy, pacy, utterly authentic account of far away long ago soldiering" - John Mellors, London Magazine

"A great writer has raised a memorial to a lost generation" - John Colvin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; English Language edition (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602391904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602391901
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on February 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George MacDonald Fraser, who has written many successful fiction books based on well researched history quite often starring his very British Flashman character, writes a chronicle of his own personal experiences in the final stages of WWII fighting the Japanese as a 19 year old member of a rifle company that is composed of a handful of men run by a sergeant and a corporal. Fraser, who just recently passed away, writes of his first hand experiences in a very descriptive personal way, capturing the various English dialects of his fellow citizen soldiers expressing all their frustrations of life in harsh conditions in the jungle dealing with swamps, leaches, mosquitoes, questionable orders but generally good leadership although sometimes well questioned by the troops. Fraser gives you an excellent description of what it was like in the field, mixed with the real humor from the men who bonded close together, although having their differences with occasional culture clashes; they generally endure their punishment with a delightful sarcasm. And Fraser gives you the full flavor of the different troops in the field such as the courageous Gurkha soldiers, Indians and native tribesmen that fight with the British while also interacting with the tribes inhabiting the Burma jungles often caught between the two sides. Fraser does not write a political correct book and he is quite clear about that, which makes the book a realistic read, he echoes what the troops in the field really felt and he makes no bones how they felt about their enemy. An excellent picture of very young and veteran soldiers in the field that gives you the feel for the tremendous challenges and conditions they faced.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Aquila on August 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Fraser's is one of the finest war memoirs I've ever read, and for so many reasons. He has a gift for illustrating the life of the combat soldier in ways that are at once terrifying, hilarious, and sometimes just plain bizarre. His discovery in the field that he had a gift for brewing tea is unforgettable, as is his account of falling down a well in the middle of a battle, his comrades cracking jokes about it as the chaos and noise of battle rages all around them. Among the most remarkable things about Fraser's book are his comparisons between the official histories of what happened with what he actually experienced; the official history of one engagement, for example, records only that a tank was destroyed and so many men killed or wounded on each side, but Fraser describes what that burning tank SMELLED like and how it attracted the attention of Japanese soldiers throughout the night. These are the things we rarely get from ordinary histories of battles and wars. His book does not reduce the soldiers to a list of statistics. One learns to care about them or loathe them almost as much as Fraser did.

The final few chapters are particularly sobering. We owe so much to the men and women who fought and served in this war. Fraser's book has many important and enduring lessons for all of us, but particularly for those of us born in the postwar boom. Highly, highly recommended!
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a young man, George MacDonald Fraser was a "ranker" (enlisted man) assigned to the 17th (Black Cat) Division of the British 14th Indian Army as it pursued the Japanese south through Burma after the latter's resounding defeat at the gates of India, at Imphal. Fraser's narrative history of his personal contribution to this campaign is QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE.
Written decades after the fact, this book does not pretend to be a comprehensive history of the Burma Theater in the last months of World War II. Rather, it's the war from the perspective of Nine Section in which Fraser fought, first as a Private, then Lance Corporal. (A "section" is the smallest operating unit of an infantry platoon, i.e. 8-10 men.) Besides being a vivid retelling of the author's recollections to the extent that he remembers, it's also an intimate portrait of the organization, weapons, tactics and camaraderie of the British Army at section level at that time, place, and conflict. It's a story told with the humor, intelligence and introspection that comes with maturity and hindsight. And, though some of Fraser's bitterness towards his old foe occasionally shows, age does dull the sharp edges.
"I remember watching, a year or two ago, televised interviews with old Japanese soldiers who had fought in the war ... sitting in their gardens in their sports shirts, blinking cheerfully in the sunlight, reminiscing in throat-clearing croaks about battles long ago. It crossed my mind: were any of you on the Pyawbwe slope, and lived to tell the tale? Well, if they did, at this time of day I don't mind."
Fraser is a truly gifted writer. After VJ Day, he applied for, and was awarded, a commission as a subaltern (2nd Lieutenant) in a Scottish Highland division posted to the Middle East.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By HMS Warspite TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
2001's "Quartered Safe Out Here" is George MacDonald Fraser's superbly written and moving recollection of his service wtih the British 14th Army in the Burma Theater at the close of the Second World War.

Fraser was a 19 year-old private, fresh from a "public" school education and assigned to an infantry section full of seasoned veterans in one of the most dangerous combat zones of the war. A journalist and novelist later in life, Fraser didn't get around to writing about his wartime experiences until half a century after the fact. As a result, his narrative is admittedly episodic. Fraser makes an effort to place his often vivid recollections in context provided by the official history, but this account is in no way meant to be a unit or campaign history.

Fraser is that unfortunately rare type, an infantry private with real writing skills. His section mates become living, breathing characters to the reader. His impressions of the jungle, the heat, the monsoons, and combat with the Japanese are heartbreakingly real. The respect of the 14th Army for its commander, future Field Marshal Bill Slim, shines through. Fraser's portraits of British, Indian, and Gurkha soldiers are by turns funny and awe-inspiring in capturing their stoic professionalism under conditions of boredom and terror. His observations of the attitudes and expectations of his fellow soldiers provide some pungent perspective on just how much the world has changed since 1945.

"Quartered Safe Out Here" is very highly recommended as a superbly written and brutally honest account of a forgotten theater of World War II, a reading experience for the casual reader and the student of history alike.
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