Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The King's Rifle

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The King's Rifle

A Novel

by Biyi Bandele

The King's Rifle
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  • Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Beyond the Book

The Chindits

Major General Orde Charles Wingate was a controversial figure in the British military during WWII. He was abrasive and opinionated, with ideas about warfare that struck those around him as either idiotic or sheer genius. Many of his superiors were impressed by him; others thought him a madman.

Wingate was born in India in 1903. He gained a commission in the Royal Artillery in 1922, beginning a lifelong career in the military. During the years that followed he served in the Sudan and later in Palestine. In 1940-41 he formed a commando unit, "Gideon's Force," which operated on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border, where it was very successful against the Italian Army. He was sent to Burma in 1942 to form a force to combat the Japanese. These soldiers became the Chindits (named after the Burmese word for a mythical winged lion – "chinthe").

The Chindits were the largest of the allied Special Forces in World War II. They were an international ...

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