Born of War

Thomas Taylor, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $17.95 (450p) ISBN 978-0-07-063192-2
The eccentric Maj. Gen. Orde Wingate, defiant of his British superiors, oddly dressed in a pith helmet and munching onions as if they were snacks, developed an impressive record as a champion of the underdog. A captain in Palestine in the 1930s, he helped Jewish settlers organize to protect themselves. Together with Emperor Haile Selassie, he marched into Addis Ababa to liberate Ethiopia from the Italians; while in Burma, he organized a guerrilla force that struck from the jungle to harass the Japanese. He was killed in mid-1944, when Britain began turning the tide against the Japanese in the Pacific theater. Taylor (A Piece of This Country) is clearly enamored of Wingate and has chosen to fictionalize his life in what he calls a docudrama, combining fiction with photos, maps and selections from actual diaries. These added details, however, don't make up for Taylor's exaggeration of Wingate's confrontations with his rivals in the British army, his poor dramatization of Wingate's travails or his mechanical dialogue. Wingate's story is still another fascinating account to emerge from World War II; Taylor's book is most interesting when he sticks to the narration of Wingate's campaigns. (March)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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