Last to the front by Gee Svasti

by Leonard H. Le Blanc III

River Books, 2020, 336 pages. 

Thailand’s participation in World War I (WWI) on the side of the Allies holds a special historical place in the hearts and minds of all Thais. Its participation in WWI marked that the country was fully accepted as a sovereign nation in the eyes of the West and finally ended the period of European attempts at subjugation. Now Thailand was considered a fully equal partner in the international community.

Gee Svasti has written a novel about Thai soldiers trapped in the middle of the horrific fighting. The book remarkably and graphically details all the wanton destruction, the capriciousness of life and death, the horrors of combat, mindless bureaucracy, and the total insanity of war. It has been said war’s biggest tragedy is the complete waste of everything.  Mr. Svasti proves again this adage remains true. But the author also contrasts the high personal cost the protagonists must all bear as true witnesses to the mind-numbing absurdities and how they interact to meet each indignity with honour. A most important novel; a great read. 5 STARS!

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