First In, Last Out

An Unconventional British Officer in Indo-China

J P Cross

 
Date Published :
June 2017
Publisher :
Greenhill Books
Contributor(s) :
Hew Strachan
Language:
English
Illustration :
16pp plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781784382209
Pages : 256
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ISBN : 9781784382223-epub
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Overview
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This is the astonishing tale of two episodes in the life of Colonel J P Cross, jungle fighter and linguist extraordinaire.

As a young officer at the end of the war against Japan in 1945, he took part in counterinsurgency operations against the Vietminh at a time of chaos and confusion. Sent to the area to help disarm the defeated Japanese, Cross found himself commanding a battalion of the very same troops against the Vietminh.

That period provides the backdrop to Cross’s experiences as British Defence Attache to Laos between 1972 and 1976\. His mastery of the languages of the region allowed him rarely accorded access to high Laotian political circles.

Allowed to wander at will even by the Communists, he was in the unique position to survey the subterfuge and rivalry surrounding an overlooked yet fascinating sideshow to the Vietnam War. A remarkable man, J P Cross provides an absorbing account of his life amidst the cut and thrust of Laotion politics.

About The Author
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In 1970, The Economist described J P Cross as ‘one of those gifted, dedicated eccentrics that the British Army has the habit of spawning.’ In his career spanning 40 years, Colonel Cross commanded a rifle company during the Malayan Emergency and the Border Scouts in Borneo, directed the British Army Jungle Warfare School and recruited Gurkhas for the British Army in Nepal.

Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and was formerly the Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.

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