Farthest Field

Farthest Field

An Indian Story of the Second World War

Book - 2015
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WW Norton
A brilliantly conceived nonfiction epic, a war narratedthrough the lives and deaths of a single family.
The photographs of three young men had stood in his grandmother’s house for as long as he could remember, beheld but never fully noticed. They had all fought in the Second World War, a fact that surprised him. Indians had never figured in his idea of the war, nor the war in his idea of India. One of them, Bobby, even looked a bit like him, but Raghu Karnad had not noticed until he was the same age as they were in their photo frames. Then he learned about the Parsi boy from the sleepy south Indian coast, so eager to follow his brothers-in-law into the colonial forces and onto the front line. Manek, dashing and confident, was a pilot with India’s fledgling air force; gentle Ganny became an army doctor in the arid North-West Frontier. Bobby’s pursuit would carry him as far as the deserts of Iraq and the green hell of the Burma battlefront.The years 1939–45 might be the most revered, deplored, and replayed in modern history. Yet India’s extraordinary role has been concealed, from itself and from the world. In riveting prose, Karnad retrieves the story of a single family—a story of love, rebellion, loyalty, and uncertainty—and with it, the greater revelation that is India’s Second World War.Farthest Field narrates the lost epic of India’s war, in which the largest volunteer army in history fought for the British Empire, even as its countrymen fought to be free of it. It carries us from Madras to Peshawar, Egypt to Burma—unfolding the saga of a young family amazed by their swiftly changing world and swept up in its violence.

Baker & Taylor
"A brilliantly conceived nonfiction epic, a war narrated through the lives and deaths of a single family. A young man from the sleepy south Indian coast, sensing adventure and opportunity, follows his brothers-in-law into the army--and onto the front lines of India's Second World War. His army fights for the British empire, even as his countrymen fight for freedom from it, and Indian soldiers end up on both sides of the vast conflict. The narrative travels from Madras to Eritrea, Iraq, and Burma, unfolding the saga of a young family amazed by their swiftly changing world and devastated by its violence. The Farthest Field reveals how the war transformed India, its army, and the British empire that had ruled the country for so long and would, barely two years after the end of the war, abandon it to the horrors of partition. In penetrating nonfiction prose, Raghu Karnad retrieves from obscurity the epic of India's Second World War--a war the world reveres, but India would choose to forget"--Provided by publisher.

Book News
This book is a well-written historical narrative that uses the techniques of a memoir. It was produced by an award-winning journalist from India, and follows the stories of three men from his own family as they fought for the Allies in WWII. In the process, the book reveals an untold story: India's role in the war. More than two million people from India-the largest volunteer army in history-fought with the Allies as British subjects. But at the same time, India fought to secure its own independence from Britain, and in winning it would be divided into two nations separated by religion. As a result, Allied soldiers and their families faced turmoil on every front, at home and at war. The book follows three men, Parsi and Hindu, an Army doctor, a pilot, and a soldier, to their fates on war fronts as far away as Iraq and Burma. These chapters alternate with dramatic stories from the female-led households at home. An epilogue gives account of what happened afterward to all the major surviving characters in the book, including the author's grandmother. Karnad skillfully blends the known facts from his extensive research with his own imagination of the thoughts and feelings of the people in the moment, making a book of creative nonfiction that will inform and appeal to a wide variety of readers. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Narrated through the lives and deaths of a single family, this nonfiction epic follows a young man from the sleepy south Indian coast who follows his brothers-in-law into the army and onto the front lines of India's Second World War where he witnesses a quickly changing world and devastating violence.
A nonfiction epic narrated through the lives and deaths of a single family describes India's experience of World War II, discussing how the country, its army, and the ruling British empire were transformed by the war.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2015
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2015
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780393248098
0393248097
Branch Call Number: 940.54 KAR 2015
Characteristics: xx, 300 pages : maps ; 25 cm

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Liber_vermis
Aug 24, 2017

This personal account of family members in the "Forgotten War" in north-eastern India; and northeastern Africa and the Levant is written with picture-painting prose and strong feeling. As the story is reconstructed, as the main characters were killed during the war, from the memories of soldiers-in-arms, personal letters, and military records, then the account occasionally feels contrived; and the threads of the three character's activities are sometimes confusing. This account is worth reading, in particular the Afterword, for the implications for contemporary events in these three areas of the globe. The book has two appendices, endnotes, a substantial bibliography, and an index.

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athena14
Sep 06, 2015

"The spine-cracking encyclopedia of Indian castes was ironed flat onto a single khaki page." Karnad's words illuminate even the most banal of war's happenings.

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l
Liber_vermis
Aug 24, 2017

"The photographs of three young men stood in [the author's] grandmother's house ... beheld but never fully noticed. They had all fought in the Second World War, a fact that surprised him. ... The years 1939-45 might be the most revered, deplored, and replayed in modern history. Yet India's extraordinary role has been concealed ... In riveting prose, Karnad retrieves the story of a single family ... and with it, the greater revelation that is India's Second World War. "Farthest Field" narrates the [forgotten] epic of India's war, in which the largest volunteer army in history fought for the British Empire even as its countrymen fought to be free of it. It carries us from Madras to Peshawar, Egypt to Burma - unfolding the saga of a young family amazed by their swiftly changing world and swept up in its violence." [Publisher's description on front flap.]

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