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Dragon of the Mangroves: Inspired by True Events of World War II    by Yasuyuki Kasai order for
Dragon of the Mangroves
by Yasuyuki Kasai
Order:  USA  Can
iUniverse, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Dragon of the Mangroves, while fiction, is 'Inspired by True Events of World War II' and involves an aspect of that war that I had never heard about.

At the end of the war, the Japanese were in flight from Burma while still trying to launch a counteroffensive from Ramee Island, just off the coast. When it became apparent that this would also fail, an attempt was made to rescue those soldiers already in place. Having to cross a mangrove swamp and at the same time dodge enemy fire proved difficult enough. But to outwit hungry, waiting crocodiles proved difficult beyond belief.

This story is told from the Japanese point of view. The author's great-great-grandfather was a samurai sent out as a coastguardsman against the first U.S. fleet to sail to Japan. His father was an army artilleryman during WW II. Yasuyuki Kasai draws from that background, along with extensive research, to produce his novel. He shows in great detail just what the soldiers faced, what their frame of minds were, and what the territory they slogged through was like.

He also describes in detail the horror the men felt as they watched their compatriots disappear beneath murky water. Dragon of the Mangroves is an intriguing tale that boggles the mind.

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