Set behind enemy lines in Burma, this New York Times bestseller is “easily one of the best novels to come out of World War II” (Los Angeles Times).
American soldiers and native Kachin troops battle Japanese forces behind enemy lines in the Burmese jungles. But during the brutal campaign to gain territory in the unforgiving tropical landscape, Captain Reynolds and his band of special operations soldiers and guerrilla fighters struggle to find self-awareness, and even love, in the midst of the trials of combat.
One of the youngest officers to serve in Merrill’s Marauders and OSS Detachment 101—precursors to the Green Berets and Central Intelligence Agency—author Tom T. Chamales brings an unparalleled level of authentic detail and raw intensity to this work of fiction based on his real-life experience in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Never So Few is “an extraordinary and powerful book,” unflinching in its portrayal of wartime sacrifice and violence (Kirkus Reviews, starred).
The basis for the movie starring Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen, it offers “dramatic, exciting, and concretely detailed accounts of battle action,” and joins the ranks of other classic war novels such as From Here to Eternity and The Naked and the Dead in bringing later generations to the frontlines and into the inner lives of the brave men who served (The New York Times).
About the author
Born in 1924, Tom T. Chamales graduated from St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, in 1942, at the age of eighteen and immediately joined the army. Chamales attended basic training, Officer Candidates’ School, and the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
He was the youngest officer to serve in Merrill’s Marauders and OSS Detachment 101. (The OSS was the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US Army Special Forces, commonly known as the “Green Berets,” trace their roots to Merrill’s Marauders.)
At the age of twenty-one, he was a captain and stationed in Burma, where he commanded the 3rd Battalion of American Kachin Rangers. He was also the tactical commander when the main Kachin forces were joined (a force of about two thousand guerilla troops). He served the entire Burma campaign through the Lashio victory, and also took part in the invasion of Rangoon serving nearly two years behind Japanese lines. For his service, the Kachin people bestowed on him the title “Duakaba,” which means “high leader.” Col.Aaron Bank, the founder of Special Forces, wrote a personal inscription to Chamales on the inside cover of his copy of Never So Few, commemorating Chamales’s early contributions to Special Forces.
In civilian life, Chamales had a variety of occupations including hotel manager, horse book operator, fishing guide, and manager of a fashionable restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island. Chamales tragically passed away in a fire on March 20, 1960, at the age of thirty-five.
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