John Masters, Bugles And A Tiger (1956) And The Road Past Mandalay (1961)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

These two autobiographical volumes from a former (British) Indian Army officer begin by capturing a lost world, that of the Raj in the years before World War II, in the grand imperial twilight (punishing Afghan tribes, downing gin, and shooting tigers), then move into the desperate war years that doomed the British Empire. Masters’ account of fighting in Burma is an even-rawer version of George MacDonald Fraser’s superb memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here. A eulogist for empire, if an honest one, Masters also wrote a revealing and moving novel of the last days of the Raj, Bhowani Junction. Largely forgotten now, Masters was a brave and capable soldier, as well as a splendid storyteller, and he deserves a revival. 


Ralph Peters is the author of twenty-nine books, including works on strategy and military affairs, as well as best-selling, prize-winning novels. He has published more than a thousand essays, articles, and columns. As a US Army enlisted man and officer, he served in infantry and military Intelligence units before becoming a foreign area officer and global scout. After retiring in 1998, he covered wars and trouble spots in the Middle East and Africa. He now concentrates on writing books but remains Fox News’s strategic analyst. His latest novel, Hell or Richmond, a gritty portrayal of Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign, follows his recent New York Times best seller, Cain at Gettysburg, for which he received the 2013 Boyd Award for Literary Excellence in Military Fiction from the American Library Association. Video: Ralph Peters on the importance of military history education in the militaryPeters is also the author of the Civil War novel, The Damned of Petersburg.