Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia

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Harvard University Press, 2007 - History - 674 pages
4 Reviews

In September 1945, after the fall of the atomic bomb--and with it, the Japanese empire--Asia was dominated by the British. Governing a vast crescent of land that stretched from India through Burma and down to Singapore, and with troops occupying the French and Dutch colonies in southern Vietnam and Indonesia, Britain's imperial might had never seemed stronger.

Yet within a few violent years, British power in the region would crumble, and myriad independent nations would struggle into existence. Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper show how World War II never really ended in these ravaged Asian lands but instead continued in bloody civil wars, anti-colonial insurrections, and inter-communal massacres. These years became the most formative in modern Asian history, as Western imperialism vied with nascent nationalist and communist revolutionaries for political control.

Forgotten Wars, a sequel to the authors' acclaimed Forgotten Armies, is a panoramic account of the bitter wars of the end of empire, seen not only through the eyes of the fighters, but also through the personal stories of ordinary people: the poor and bewildered caught up in India's Hindu-Muslim massacres; the peasant farmers ravaged by warfare between British forces and revolutionaries in Malaya; the Burmese minorities devastated by separatist revolt. Throughout, we are given a stunning portrait of societies poised between the hope of independence and the fear of strife. Forgotten Wars vividly brings to life the inescapable conflicts and manifold dramas that shaped today's Asia.


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User Review  - Sr_Moreno - LibraryThing

Extremely well researched, but the lengthy paragraphs, huge number of names and endless acronyms make this a very tiring read. Nonetheless, there are some excellent passages. Read full review

Review: Forgotten Wars: The End Of Britains Asian Empire

User Review  - Gareth - Goodreads

This is a good general introduction to the rather messy end of Britain's Asian empire, something that has traditionally got very little coverage, with the focus on Cyprus and particularly Palestine ... Read full review


The frontier erupts
The Centre Barely Holds
The End of Britains Asian Empire

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About the author (2007)

Christopher Alan Bayly was born on May 18, 1945 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom. He graduated from St Antony's College. He was the pre-eminent historian of India and the British Empire and a pioneer of the field of global history. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including The Local Roots of Indian Politics; Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars; Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire; Imperial Meridian; Empire and Information; The Origins of Nationality in South Asia; The Birth of the Modern World; and Recovering Liberties. In 2005, he received the Wolfson prize for history for his entire body of work. In 2007, he was the first scholar to be knighted "for services to history outside of Europe." He died of a heart attack on April 18, 2015 at the age of 69.

Tim Harper is a Senior Lecturer in History at University of Cambridge , and a Fellow of Magdalene College .

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