Paperbacks: Forgotten Wars, by Christopher Bayly & Tim Harper

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The Independent Culture

In this equally assured follow-up to Forgotten Armies, Bayly and Harper tell the story of the bloody imperial twilight in Asia (mostly, in the "great crescent" from Calcutta to Singapore) over the five years after 1945. After the Japanese defeat, the British colonies' brief deathbed revival was trumped by nationalist revolts, stiffened by the turmoil of "a world upside-down". From the legacy of Aung San (Suu Kyi's father) in Burma to the "cycle of terror and counter-terror" in Malaya, this era of upheaval needs remembering. Shifting between wide angle and close focus, the authors deliver narrative history of thrilling energy and insight, packed with lessons about the folly of high-minded occupiers.

Penguin £10.99 (672pp)

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