Very Good. Item #9879
[Possibly Maine]: Self-Published, 1980. Signed and inscribed: "For Amanda, Fondly, Henrietta." Dated "Copyright 1980" in author's hand. Photostat of typescript, comb-bound, 28x21cm, 207pp. Eighteen documentary B&W photographs; one custom-drawn map.
Pale blue card covers. Volume shows the marks and slight soiling of attentive and frequent handling, but spine still holds, and pages are not breaking away from the comb.
This copy of the typescript is presented as a stand-alone, complete work in its own right. It would later be recast by Henrietta Thompson to some degree, and submitted by her to the University of Maine in 1992 as her doctoral thesis.
Most of the material is made up of transcripts of oral accounts by some 43 participants who lived the escape from Burma (now Myanamar) under Stilwell, and 8 additional associated contemporaries—all of it well contextualized and interpreted by Thompson. The full group of escapees consisted of 25 American military, 3 American civilians, 2 Chinese civilians, 2 British guides, 13 Chinese military, 12 British military, 9 Asian technicians, 36 medical personnel, and 10 others.
The work constitutes an impressive oral history feat of military, refugee, social class, racial, and Stilwellian import. Of particular interest is the large proportion of surviving interviewees who were of Asian descent, and who were women. To some degree they provide background on their pre-war lives in their oral accounts, and their remembered behaviors during the escape are candid and far, far away from the usual fare of military histories. The historical episode shows major similarities (with radical differences, of course) to the historical death march/life march depicted in the movie "A Town Like Alice."
Final hand-scripted envoi in Burmese translates "I wish you all the best in Myanmar." A leaf from a silver maple tree is laid in.