It’s 1942 and Harry Flynn enlists to fight in the war expecting to find the thrill of danger and honor of military service. He leaves behind the love of his life to journey into a world of tigers, elephants and Himalayan Mountains. Instead of a fighting position, Harry is sent to the Forgotten Front in the Indian subcontinent as an ordinary supply officer. There, General Joseph ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell is constructing a ‘road to nowhere’ through Japanese-occupied Burma. The general will do anything to get the road built.
A brilliant novel, Hawkins deserves recognition of her effort, truly outstanding.
I am a huge history buff, secondly I enjoy well crafted historical fiction. I can honestly state in all of my reading I have not come across a fictional novel offering a narrative on the China-Burma-India Theatre, an often ignored and unknown of WWII. Hawkins impresses with her well researched and excellent presentation of this unnoticed, shunned aspect of the war.
Hawkins paints a vivid setting. The depths of the exotic and sultry jungle, the tropical dangers, oppressive temperatures, the harsh overall surroundings. She also provides the reader with cultural and ethnic differences, traditions and customs. You understand the brutal elements, horiffic conditions soldiers faced without question.
Harry Flynn serves as the main protagonist, he takes your breath away with his inner turmoil. A man conflicted as he searches his soul, evolves and survives. Psychologically, emotionally you feel as if you’re standing next to Harry intimately sharing in his experiences. He is affecting, three-dimensional. Hawkins could not expand character development with Harry as well as the other various players featured.
A halting, realistic glimpse into combat, with specific focus of China-Burma-Indian Theatre. Language, intricacies of life as a soldier revealed in a personal voice, a tone reflective of pre/post war, fears, heroics, loss and survival. Haunting, painful, emotional, inspiring. Highly highly recommend. Bravo Barbara Hawkins.
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Barbara Hawkins started writing a pseudo-memoir about her time spent in Guatemala during the 1970’s-1980’s civil war. It was too close to her heart, so she had to switch to something she wanted to tell a story about but also had a worthwhile message. Her father had always wanted to write a book about the time he’d spent in World War II but died before he could reach that goal. So she thought she’d give it a try.
She knew he was stationed in Sri Lanka, but she didn’t find much to write about there. So she gravitated to what she knew best, engineering and jungles. The story of the Afro-American construction regiment building Stilwell’s Road grabbed her attention and who could not be mesmerized by American’s first guerrilla supported units: Merrill’s Marauders and the Mars Task Force? Half-way through the book her sister found her dad’s diary from the War. He was actually in the Mars Task Force. The scene with Lt. Jack Knight was taken from his diary and the ending was from a conversation she had with her dad just before he died. Having given a promise to keep his WWII missions a secret for fifty years, it was the only time her father spoke of the War.
Ms. Hawkins holds BS degrees from the University of Minnesota where she studied Botany and Mathematics. She taught mathematics and science in High School until she realized she hated being a disciplinarian. From there she traveled to jungles in Latin America collecting plant specimens for several universities. She also has a MS in Civil Engineering. For the last twenty-five-years she has worked as a professional engineer. Her hobbies vary from cooking and yoga to bicycling and adventure travel.
For more information visit Barbara Hawkins’ website.
Behind the Forgotten Front Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Thursday, May 14
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, May 15
Review & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Monday, May 18
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Tuesday, May 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
To enter to win a paperback copy of Behind the Forgotten Front please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 5/26/15