Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Now the Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight from the Greatest Manhunt of World WarII Paperback – May 26, 2009
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Segregation is the context for Koerner’s biography of Herman Perry, and the Burma theater of World War II is the stage. Shipped to Asia with thousands of black American draftees to build the Ledo Road, Perry generated considerable documentation in his short life, and Koerner fully capitalizes on it. Producing a riveting personal drama, Koerner glimpses Perry’s essentially ebullient personality forming in the Jim Crow world but rebelling against its army version on the other side of the world. Not glossing over Perry’s transgressions of military discipline, one of which was a capital offense at the tragic heart of the narrative, Koerner solidly anchors them in their emotionally stressful context of miserable road construction in a pestilent jungle amid contemptuous treatment from some white officers. There were two extraordinary consequences of Perry’s central misdeed: his court-martial, whose procedures Koerner critiques, and beforehand, Perry’s escape and year-long survival in the Burmese wilds as an adoptive member of the Naga people. With arresting pacing and empathy for its participants, Koerner’s skillful rendering of the Perry saga exerts certain appeal for the WWII audience. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
" Koerner's gripping account of a little-known manhunt details the brutality of jungle life while also illuminating larger issues of race and prejudice during the war."
- Entertainment Weekly
" Remarkable . . . Koerner has done a great deal of digging into obscure corners of dusty records and has managed to reconstruct a tale well worth telling."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book Review
" A fascinating, untold story of the Second World War, an incendiary social document, and a thrilling, campfire tale adventure."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
men northward on transportation routes commonly called 'The Burma Road' even though
it is moe involved as this boook clearly shows. A close friend of my family fought
and slogged his way up those dangerous narrow paths and I grew up hearing many
experiences from him. The cost in lives of our troops and those of allies was
incredible. It was a race to set up defenses against the Japanese who were on
their way to the conquest of critical aress where they could assure success
against a wide area including India, Australia, and many points between.
To make it more horrible for the Allies was a hodge-podge of tribal rivalry,
poor communications, tropical diseases, and a complex mix of racial attiitdes.
Sometimes you can seem to 'feel' the hopeless fatigue and danger, and want to
lay the book aside. Again and again I would see that the veteran who had told
me what it was like and what it had done to his health never exaggerated. I
felt I had to complete the book in his memory. There was no easy campaigns
but from years of research I know of no where the deck was stacked against
our forces in so many diverse ways. The author honored the saga by writing
The book is an excellent and well-written thriller (despite being non-fiction), but more than anything, it is an eye-opening look at the treatment of blacks in the American Army at the time. A lot of the well-known literature on this subject relates to the Harlem Hellfighters (infantry) or the Tuskegee Airmen (pilots), but "Now the Hell Will Start" discusses the Jim Crow mentality of the Army and the fact that the overwhelming majority of black men in the military were relegated to manual labor, since they were deemed unfit for combat due to the racist science of the time that suggested blacks were mentally incapable of handling anything else.
The book is also an excellent introduction to the Burmese jungle, which I previously knew nothing about. The author explains the role of Burma, China, and India in World War II, and Herman Perry was deployed to Burma to work on building a road that ultimately ended up being mostly pointless. I found the detail about the perils of the Burmese jungles and the monsoon season to be both fascinating and horrifying.
Some people have claimed that this book paints Herman Perry in a sympathetic light despite the fact that he killed an officer. While I agree that he was painted in a sympathetic light, I do think it is warranted. The disparities between the treatment of white soldiers and black soldiers were glaring, particularly with regard to soldiers who exhibited any degree of mental instability, as Herman Perry did. This combined with the fact that everyone (white or black) working in China, Burma, and India was essentially ignored by the Army brass made me wonder why more people did not end up in the same situation.
I definitely recommend this book, though the descriptions of life in the Burmese jungle are not for the faint of heart.
Also, I bought this book on the Kindle. I found that the footnote links worked well and that the pictures (there were only a few) were easy to see on my black-and-white Kindle. There were a lot of missing spaces, though - so every few pages some words were combined. Otherwise a good book to read in the Kindle format.