Medical History of the Second World War

Army Medical Services, Campaigns, Volume V, Burma, by F. A. E. Crew, F.R.S. xlvi + 754 pages, illustrated. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 1966. $30.00

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Rangoon fell to the Japanese 33rd Division on March 7, 1942, and was reoccupied by the Indian 26th Division on May 5, 1945. In a footnote on page 541 of the volume under review it is stated that Rangoon is the anglicization of Ran-kon which in Burmese means “war ended” or “end of strife.” The intervening three years were years of painful retreat by an unprepared and undermanned army accompanied by many hundreds of civilians, of the build-up of men, matériel, road, rail and air communications, of attack and counter-attack, of the headlong final allied advance and rout of the invader. All of this took place in the most difficult of circumstances and over the most inhospitable terrain; tropical rain-forest with swamps and creeks, mountains and plains traversed by broad rivers whose courses were subject to change during the monsoon season.