In early 1942, with World War II going badly, President Roosevelt turned to General William "Wild Bill” Donovan, now known historically as the Father of Central Intelligence,” with orders to form a special unit whose primary mission was to prepare for the eventual reopening of the Burma Road linking Burma and China by performing guerilla operations behind the Japanese lines. Thus was born OSS Detachment 101, the first clandestine special force formed by Donovan and one that would play a highly dangerous but vital role in the reconquest of Burma by the Allies.
Behind Japanese Lines, originally published in 1979, is the exciting story of the men of Detachment 101, who, with their loyal native alliesthe Kachin headhunters fought a guerilla war for almost three years. It was a war not only against a tough and unyielding enemy, but against the jungle itself, one of the most difficult and dangerous patches of terrain in the world. Exposed to blistering heat and threatened by loathsome tropical diseases, the Western-raised OSS men also found themselves beset by unfriendly tribesmen and surrounded by the jungle’s unique perilsgiant leeches, cobras, and rogue tigers.
Not merely a war narrative, Behind Japanese Lines is an adventure story, the story of unconventional men with an almost impossible mission fighting an irregular war in supremely hostile territory.
Drawing upon the author’s own experiences as a member of Detachment 101, interviews with surviving 101 members, and classified documents, Dunlop’s tale unfolds with cinematic intensity, detailing the danger, tension, and drama of secret warfare. Never before have the activities of the OSS been recorded in such authentic firsthand detail.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By William R. Toddmancillas on 03-08-14
The OSS in Burma
Would you consider the audio edition of Behind Japanese Lines to be better than the print version?
Yes. The audio version is more exciting. The material lends itself to dramatic interpretation.
What did you like best about this story?
The ingenuity and steadfastness of the indigenous guerillas. What resourceful, brave, intelligent, loyal allies were they.
Which character – as performed by David Baker – was your favorite?
All of the characters are riveting.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Yes. The descriptions of torture are harrowing but also necessary to understand fully the barbarous ways of the Japanese military. Simply outrageous. They got what was coming to them.
Any additional comments?
Would make for a fabulous movie, if a very expensive one (given location, logistics, and the formidable environment/weather).
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Bethany M on 11-08-18
Weaves an Amazing Tapestry of History
I listened to this book entirely while preparing my classroom for the upcoming school year. From the very first chapter, I was hooked. The characters became so vivid to me that I cried when some of them passed away. My heart also celebrated with them at their victory feast and I felt angry at the unexpected cruelty of the Chinese upon their Allies. It is an amazing piece of history with narratives from multiple sources and perspectives woven together to make an amazing tapestry of this little known history which was vital to the overthrow of Imperial Japan.