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Publisher's Summary

The extraordinary firsthand account of an American special forces unit in the jungles of southeast Asia and their guerilla operations against the Japanese during World War II!

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.

©2014 Richard Dunlop (P)2013 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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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).

8 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Way to much descriptive detail

There was a lot of information about the Burmese theater of war that was new to me however, That was insufficient to keep listening. I almost stopped about a third of the way through in about 2/3 the way through I did stop. The editor for this book should have taken out somewhere between 30 and 50% of the book. The information about detachment 101 and the amazing things they did was extraordinary. But a smaller book Would have been much better.

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Gut wrenching!!!

Makes me so thankful for the life we have here and now. I had never heard stories of the Burma theater. Amazing...

1 person found this helpful

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Detailed but interesting

Names, places, dates & situations but not dry or lecturing. Interspersed with wonderful stories. Must read for military/history buff

1 person found this helpful

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An Assignment for Only a Few

Special people those who volunteered for an assignment in such a grueling and unforgiving environment to perform impossible missions with enemy all around. Not for retiring or faint of heart kind. The description of atrocities and wanton cruelty by Japanese of non- combatants stuck out to me. War is hell but such depravity is stupifying. The Kachins were the epitome of jungle warfare fighters. I guess had it not been for the atrocities in their villages they might not have been so motivated to join in the fighting. Hell of a price to pay to produce such a significant contribution to the war effort in the Pacific. The Unit Citation read at the end speaks volumes in summary of that effort and contribution.

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Love it

As a history buff I’ve read hundreds of books on WW2. This book really shows what day to day life behind Japanese lines was like. Really interesting group of people in this book as well.

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A Story Less Told

With all the troops sent to Europe and the Pacific theater, there are many good books covering those aspects. There were few people in the OSS in Burma so the story is less well known. I enjoyed the book and it's presentation of the subject.

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Very interesting and informative.

I have always loved history.
My precious generation told me somethings about their experiences in WW2. I enjoyed their stories.
It made me want to know more. I have become a avid reader.
This book the way it was done all the way till now is excellent.
Well We'll done. loved it!

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Amazing History

the pains the commandos went through to scout out the paths for the Burma Road were more than I had ever been introduced to before. the jungle fought them maybe more than the Japanese. Amazing story of what was happening behind the scenes to get the job done. now I need the physical version so I can mark it up with notes.

I highly recommend this for all historians.

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  • Andre Gibson
  • 08-06-21

Well written and read (albiet at speed!)

Facinating to hear about this part of history, written in a manner that is easy to digest. The narrator is very good, but at times reads far too quickly not giving enough time for the listener to think about what is being said.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 06-25-22

Great book

full of great stories and amazing acts of bravery and loyalty one of the best books I've listened to

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  • GC
  • 05-15-22

Unsung Hero’s

The story of Military operations usually revolves around the exploits of army navy and airforce operations in a variety of theatres of war. This book however focus’s on the men and allies engaged in occupied territories facing not only a powerful enemy and tribal dangers but also that of the harsh terrain and a multitude of venomous and unpleasant deadly jungle creatures.
The narration is good but I’d have preferred more emphasis on the dramatic events to give it more punch in crediting these selfless brave souls in such a sacrifice.
Still very worthy of listening to.

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  • Tyrone poet
  • 11-21-21

An amazing story that is seldom told

The bravery of the native people and their importance in helping small groups of American OSS forces in the Struggle against Japanese forces is told with dignity and flair.
It is simply a Tragedy of how these people were treated by their colonial masters, the British, when they asked for self determination of their own country post 1945.
Because of this reason only an American could have written this book, even if the Americans would become the new imperial master on the country's self liberation.

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  • Peek
  • 06-05-17

Interesting story, winning against the odds.

It's a slow read, but it's real, so I'm not surprised. It's an epic struggle. I guess you could say that, for the Japanese, this was their Vietnam.

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  • LET
  • 06-02-17

The story is very interesting and the reader did justice to it.

A well written book and also interesting. It covers a period of world war ll which has very little written about.