F Spencer Chapman Biography

#2
Thanks for the heads up.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
'The Jungle is Neutral' has acheived classic status, but that always rather puzzled me. OK, according to Wiki:

SNIP
Chapman remained a thorn in the Japanese side, accounting for no less that seven trains, fifteen bridges and forty motor vehicles and the killing of some hundreds of Japanese troops in a short period of time at the beginning of Japanese occupation
SNIP

However, MY recall of the book is that Spencer Chapman and his chums did not really DO a lot - they were sick from various jungle diseases most of the time - bar evading the Japanese. Much of his success in his E&E endeavours must go to the indigenous guerillas; likewise, his tactical successes.

Perhaps I should dust off the book...
 
#4
Andy_S said:
However, MY recall of the book is that Spencer Chapman and his chums did not really DO a lot - they were sick from various jungle diseases most of the time - bar evading the Japanese. Much of his success in his E&E endeavours must go to the indigenous guerillas; likewise, his tactical successes.

Perhaps I should dust off the book...
Spencer Chapman was a certainly a brave man but there was quite some doubt, not least among ex-Force 136 people, that some of his exploits detailed in his book actually happened.

The Jungle is Neutral is certainly one of the books of the Second World War but for more low-key narratives of life behind the Japanese lines, a couple of books that I found worth reading are 'Red Jungle' the story of John Cross a Royal Signals WO who led a stay-behind party and 'A Fearful Freedom' the story of Jim (sorry, can't recall his last name without digging out the book), a soldier from the Royal Norfolk Regiment who evaded capture and eventually teamed up with Cross's party.
 
#5
Read the review in the Sundays looks like a must read for a history geek like me
 
#6
tropper66 said:
Read the review in the Sundays looks like a must read for a history geek like me
Sunday Times covers a lot of the same ground as The Guardian

http://entertainment.timesonline.co...tainment/books/non-fiction/article6876920.ece

There's something slightly inhuman about that level of determination. I've always thought that (for example) Graeme Obree's ability to hurt himself on the bike was not unconnected with his health problems. In the case of F. Spencer Chapman you've got to think that his childhood did something to him. It would be interesting to run a research project on people who can endure to discover what they have in common. Early trauma would be my guess - resulting in something quite close to (but not) passive suicidal tendencies.

[Zo, dell me about your mudder :) ]
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Heard about this on R4 the other day. Sounds fascinating. The description given made Mr Chapman sound like an amazing man. On the Crimbo list!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
For me the memorable bit in Chapman's book (read years ago) was where he asks his hosts what sort of tasty monkey is in the stewpot. Answer, 'Jap'.
 

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