source url One thing I really like about Merrill’s Marauders is its brief discussion of the problems facing anyone trying to write about World War II in Burma. This is the litany given on page vi: “Few records were available because the Marauders restricted their files in order to maintain mobility while they were operating behind the Japanese lines. During the second mission a Japanese artillery shell scored a direct hit on the mule carrying the limited quantity of records and maps kept by the unit headquarters. During the third mission the heavy rains made preservation of papers impossible for more than a day or two. The unit’s intelligence officer was killed at Myitkyina, and his records were washed away before they could be located.” In 1944-45, when this narrative was compiled, it was possible to interview veterans of the Burma campaign – which, thankfully, did happen to some degree. Still, much was lost to history, and already at this remove no substitute sources will ever again be available.

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