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).
“The author’s grasp of this material, his ability to assimilate history to the purpose of fiction make his book far superior to most first novels. He has, moreover, in the person of Maj. Con Reynolds, created a thoroughly admirable character. Reynolds is equally well drawn.” —The New York Times
“An exotic and absorbing experience.” —Saturday Review
“Searing.” —Library Journal
“The whole picture of the guerrilla fighting in Burma emerges with its strange undertones of intense patriotism, its moments of almost spiritual aspiration, its violence and crudity.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred
“I highly recommend this outstanding World War II novel. . . . A compelling tale of not only Captain Chamales, but the WWII CIA predecessor the OSS and the US Army Special Forces commonly known as the Green Berets.” —Charles B. Johnson, former chairman, Franklin Templeton Investments
“[A] gritty tale of unconventional warfare in the Far East . . . Chamales’s narrative explores how the peculiar nature of unconventional battle affected the men who fought. [His] own experience as an army captain who parachuted into Lashio, Burma, and trained and led a battalion of Kachin Rangers comes through in vivid detail. . . . Providing just enough strategic context, Chamales delves deeper into the moral issues faced by leaders in battle.” —James Clarke, graduate, United States Military Academy at West Point and former Captain, United States Army, 82nd Airborne Division and 1st Special Operations Command
“Gripping autobiographical fiction, told by a born storyteller with an arresting personal story . . . It is a novel but would also have been compelling as a nonfiction, truly remarkable war memoir. . . . This is a book so personal and emotionally charged that it is both poetic and infused with the writer’s convictions.” —Pete Wilson, former senator and governor of California
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. 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.