Burma Boy

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Jonathan Cape, 2007 - Fiction - 216 pages
It's winter 1944 and the Second World War is entering its most crucial stage. A few months ago Ali Banana was apprenticed to a whip-wielding blacksmith in his rural hometown; now he's behind enemy lines, trekking through the Burmese jungle, a private in Thunder Brigade. He is fourteen years old. Led by the scarred, charismatic Sergeant Damisa, Thunder Brigade has been given orders to go behind enemy lines and wreak havoc. But the jungle is a treacherous place, riddled with Japanese snipers, infection and disease.As torrential rains turn the landscape into a mud-riven death trap, the losses mount up, Ali's sanity falters and troubling questions arise. Who, for instance, is 'Kingi Jogi'? What does his empire stand for? And what does it all mean for Banana, the men of Thunder Brigade and for their inspirational general? Burma Boy is a story of the adventure of war and the terrible consequences of that adventure. Biyi Bandele's novel is a meticulously researched, elegantly written tribute to the Africans who fought in the Second World War - detailing the madness, the horror, the sacrifice and the dark humour of its most vicious battleground.

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